The Newman's Own Awards for Military Community Excellence - 2000
The Fort Lewis Washington Enlisted Spouses' Club Outreach First in Army Category
Mrs. Carolyn Shelton assisted in presenting $30,000 in grants to five private organizations for their innovative ideas to improve military quality of life. Shelton, wife of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army General Hugh Shelton, joined Fisher House Vice Chairman Ken Fisher, Newman's Own Vice President Bill Lee, and Army Times Publishing Company Vice President Harry Benner, in a June 16, 2000 ceremony at the Andrews Air Force Base Fisher House, where recipients of the "Newman's Own Award for Excellent Military Community Service" were announced. The Fort Lewis, Washington Enlisted Spouses' Club Outreach finished first in the Army category and received a $5,000 grant from Newman's Own.
In November a challenge was issued to the many private organizations which support the military: Present an innovative plan to improve the quality of life for your military community, and receive funding to carry out the plans. Nearly 100 entries were received. Six judges, two from each of the sponsoring organizations, evaluated each entry based on the organization's impact to their respective communities, creativity and innovation. Organizations were in categories by the parent military service. To be eligible, each organization was required to certify that it was a private organization operating with authority of a military installation commander. Every organization submitting an entry received a certificate of recognition from Paul Newman.
Creating an OUTREACH CENTER, was the innovative idea submitted by the Fort Lewis, Washington Enlisted Spouses' Club. After an outreach program run by a nonprofit organization closed its doors on Fort Lewis due to a lack of funds, young enlisted spouses had no place to meet or learn new skills. The concerns of the young spouses kept coming up on the post. Norma Melo, president of the Enlisted Spouses' Club, led the club in taking on the project themselves. They decided to provide the place and programs for young spouses to learn sewing, quilting, and other lost arts. Having these skills and a place to meet provided these young spouses with activities while their husbands are deployed as well as increasingly their life skills. The proposal to expand the level of outreach services to the more than 8,000 family members living on post and the additional 4,000 families living off post, was judged the best among 47 Army entries. The plan contained a detailed management plan to include organization, costs, timelines, evaluation, and follow-up. The club will use the $5,000 to purchase sewing machines, quilting frames, and utensils for cooking classes. They will also provide free child care.