Dole Leadership Prize presented to the Wounded Warrior Project
- Categories: Politics | All
- Event posted: Oct. 8, 2012
- Last updated: Sept. 16, 2014
- Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, 4 p.m.
- Dole Institute of Politics, KU campus, Lawrence
- Age limit: Not available
A group dedicated to helping veterans who have been wounded in combat will receive the 2012 Dole Leadership Prize from the University of Kansas. The Wounded Warrior Project is scheduled to receive the $25,000 prize at an Oct. 14 ceremony at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence. Dole, a former Republican U.S. senator from Kansas, was wounded while serving in the Army during World War II. Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute, said the Wounded Warrior Project shares Dole's lifelong devotion to helping the nation's veterans. "The sacrifices our servicemen and women make are immense and life-changing," Lacy said. "Wounded Warrior Project is there for these wounded warriors when they return home, and for that, our entire country is grateful. Created in 2003 and based in Jacksonville, Fla., the Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and their families who have wounds, injuries or illnesses related to military service since Sept. 11, 2001. The purpose of the project is to help wounded service members find success and become well-adjusted once they return home from combat and take off their uniform. Part of the mission is to raise awareness of the needs of wounded veterans, while providing programs and services that directly meet their needs. "It is a true honor to accept this award on behalf of the thousands of wounded service members and their families Wounded Warrior Project aims to assist," said Steven Nardizzi, co-founder and executive director of the project. "The Dole Leadership Prize is one with a rich tradition, and to be included in the same category as past winners who have served and changed the lives of so many is incredibly humbling." Before getting involved with the project, Nardizzi worked as an attorney representing disabled veterans for several organizations and was the associate executive director of the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association. Previous recipients include President George H.W. Bush, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and former U.S. Sens. Howard Baker and George McGovern. During the ceremony at the Dole Institute, Lacy will interview Nardizzi, as well as Cindy Parsons, a caregiver from Ohio, her son Shane, who was wounded in combat, and Brent Whitten, a veteran who is attending the University of Kansas. Whitten was injured in Iraq in a 2005 suicide bombing that left him with burns, a broken pelvis and tissue damage to his leg. He received support from the Wounded Warrior Project while he was being treated at a burn unit in Texas. Shane Parsons was injured in Iraq in 2006 when his vehicle was hit by an explosive device, resulting in traumatic brain injury and amputations of his legs above the knee. According the Dole Institute, the Wounded Warrior Project helped him with his rehabilitation and job coaching. He now is an assistant junior high school football coach.