On 15 December Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Services recognized organizations and individuals committed to addressing the well-being of veterans and military families.
Eugene and Ruth Freedman Leadership Award
The award is named after Eugene and Ruth Freedman, whose lifetime of philanthropy continues through their family foundation and their three children, Penny Freedman, Nancy Remak and Rick Freedman.
This year's recipient, the Utility Workers Union of America, actively trains military veterans to work in the electric, gas, steam, water, and nuclear industries. Of note, the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program provides returning veterans with the training needed as gas sector utility workers to successfully transition into job opportunities, resulting in more than 700 veterans since 2011 earning licenses and credentials leading to careers that provide family wages and full benefits.
Herbert Metzger Service Award
Herb Metzger epitomizes the spirit of veterans who are wired to serve. This week, Herb's youngest daughter Holly presented the award to Tim Thorne, President of ABF Freight.
Mr. Thorne is an Army veteran and prior to separation achieved the rank of Captain. He has served ABF Freight in many capacities, from President to Supervisor Assistant.
Under Tim's leadership ABF Freight joined with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters into the Teamsters Military Assistance Program (TMAP), a joint training program to help service members transition from military service to civilian careers as professional truck drivers.
In Tim's words, "During this program, if service members provide the will to succeed, then ABF teaches them the skill to not only meet but exceed certification requirements."
Michael Yauger Point Man Award
Mr. Richard Passarelli received this award in recognition of his leadership transitioning fellow veterans from service to civilian careers.
In an Army formation on patrol, the point man takes responsibility for others and assists them as they move through challenging terrain. This particular award, named for that role and responsibilities and in honor of Michael "Mick" Yauger, recognizes the recipient's forward leadership in supporting others through challenging times and/or transitions.
Rick Passarelli is a veteran of the United States Navy and the founder of the Utility Workers Military Assistance Program in partnership with Peoples Gas Executive Team, Rick most recently joined the UWUA National staff and now holds the position of UWUA National Director of Veterans affairs and workforce development Under National President James Slevin for the UWUA.
Many veterans who Rick has supported have successfully graduated the UMAP program, going on to satisfying employment that enables them to succeed where they live.
We congratulate all these honorees.