WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama honored the “extraordinary measures of extraordinary citizens” Friday at the White House.
Among the recipients was Fuquay-Varina resident Mike Dorman, founder and executive director of Miltiary Missions in Action.
“This medal really belongs to those men and women that put on a uniform and defend our nation and those volunteers that help us,” Dorman said after the ceremony.
While he said it was an honor to be recognized, Dorman feels he simply is filling a need among active duty service members and disabled veterans.
His organization has completed more than $2 million worth of work for disabled veterans since Dorman founded it in 2008. Military Missions in Action has sent nearly 10,000 care packages to servicemen and women in combat areas.
Dorman also works with veterans that have sustained traumatic brain injuries and uses golf as a way to help many work through post traumatic stress disorder.
But, Dorman said, without the help of sponsors and donors, the organization wouldn’t be successful.
“We can’t do it without your support,” he said.
Among the 17 other medal recipients was Adam Burke of Veterans Farms. His organization helps wounded warriors by teaching them to farm. He sees them overcoming challenges daily.
Burke’s program currently has 25 wounded warriors it is helping, but he hopes to grow. That’s where he and Dorman have bonded.
“We have connected on many levels,” Dorman said.
Not just as veterans themselves, Dorman and Burke already are bouncing grant and fundraising ideas off each other. And they are in talks to work together on a project in North Carolina.
MMIA is a North Carolina-based non-profit that helps veterans with disabilities, both physical and mental, achieve independent living. All veterans who have served are eligible to receive services including home modification, rehabilitation and family assistance.
In 2011, nearly $140,000 came to MMIA in donations. Volunteers completed about $980,000 in service. In the last five years, the organization has shipped more than 9,700 care packages to service men and women in combat areas, helped more than 6,000 homeless veterans and sponsored military children to attend 26 summer camps. During the holidays, the organization has assisted 57 military and veteran families for Operation Rescue Christmas and provided Thanksgiving meals to 47 families.
More than 100 low income military and veteran families have received housing assistance and more than 100 patriotic quilts have been given to injured service members by MMIA. The organization also has provided medical equipment to 63 veterans.
However, Dorman currently has 24 unfunded projects on his desk. To help MMIA, go to www.militarymissionsinaction.org or call 919-552-1603.
The other medal recipients were Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of Boston, Adam Burke of Jacksonville, Fla., Mary Jo Copeland of Minneapolis, Minn., Maria Gomez of Washington, D.C., Pamela Green Jackson of Albany, Ga., Janice Jackson of Baltimore, Md., Patience Lehrman of Philadelphia, Pa., Jeanne Manford of Queens, N.Y., Billy Mills of Fair Oaks, Calif., Terry Shima of Gaithersburg, Md., Harris Wofford of Washington, D.C., and Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims Rachel Davino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseua, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto.
The Citizens Medal was established in 1969 to recognize American citizens who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens. President Obama is recognizing Americans whose work has had a significant impact on their communities but may not have garnered national attention.
Nearly 6,000 nominations were sent in during 2012.
Contact Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.