Wounded Warriors Project given top Inspire Award honors by Presence Health

Date: 
07/09/2015
BruceNevins

Sandra Bruce presents Inspire Award to Dan Nevins, Wounded Warrior Project

This year's system-wide Presence Health Inspire Award went to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and was presented in the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, 104 S. Michigan Ave. 

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The wife of a warrior and her husband were part of the audience

Focused on fostering the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history, WWP not only honors but empowers those who served. They work with veterans who received a physical or mental injury, illness or wound  during their military service between Sept. 11, 2001, and the present. 

Recognizing that everyone's recovery process is different, WWP works to find a program that meets the needs of  each vet and his family. Accepting for the organization, Dan Nevins, Warrior Speak Director, walked to the podium as Sandra Bruce, President and CEO, Presence Health, concluded her introduction by saying, "He had a severe brain injury and had both legs amputated." 

"My life was changed forever on November 10, 2004, when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded under my vehicle and my reality was shattered," Nevins said.  

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There were over 200 in the audience

While in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he received one of the WWP backpacks that included personal items and an offer of assistance from WWP. It was that offer that provided him the opportunity to overcome his injury and to participate in adaptive sports. "He went skiing just a few months after losing his first leg," said Bruce in her introduction. "He is now a certified Yoga instructor and recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro." (The audience erupted in a long round of applause.) 

This type of outcome and success is the reason WWP was given the Presence Inspire Award. As Bruce put it, WWP embodies the four core values of Presence Health, Honesty, Oneness, People and Excellence. 

Nevins recognized staff and volunteers at Chicago's WWP in the audience. "These are the people that get it done. I know that without them, countless of warriors would not have the best days they have now." 

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Tom Tunney and Dan Nevins after the ceremony

When Nevins laid in his Walter Reed hospital bed for 18 months enduring 36 surgeries, it was the WWP logo that resonated with him. "I realized that I was that soldier being carried. 

"Close your eyes and visualize a wounded warrior. Now open your eyes. I bet you didn't see a 23 year-old female. The warriors are a blend of all ages, sizes and genders," he said. "But most of those involved with WWP have never worn a uniform. They are completely engaged in our mission to honor and empower wounded warriors and dedicated to our mission." 

He explained how many of those people are family caregivers and how WWP is raising funds to be used in the future when the caregivers are not capable of providing that constant care. 

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Alejandro Molina (l), representing Jose Lopez, and Victor Villalobos, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, listen to Nevins

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Jamilette and Mark Zaenger, Ceaser Troya and Norma Thorton also represented PSMEMC at the event

In addition to the system-wide Inspire Award, Presence Health also honors people and organizations throughout their regions. In Chicago, the recipients were 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, Presence St. Joseph Hospital; Jose E. Lopez, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center; Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and its Founders, Presence Holy Family Medical Center; New Hope Community Food Pantry, Presence Resurrection Medical Center; and St. Leonard's Ministries, Resurrection University.

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Historic posters from WWI and WWII are on exhibit in the spacious Pritzker Gallery area

Presence Health's choice of location for this year's award ceremony was very fitting. Established in 2003, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library is a two-level facility.

It houses a vast poster collection and other military artifacts in addition to volumes of written materials as well as audio and video recordings in the library. 

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