PROFILES IN COURAGE AWARD
Bravery Beyond the Battlefield
Special Forces Association Chapter 90, Fredericksburg and central Virginia Rappahannock region, recognize that bravery comes in many forms and is not limited to the battlefield. U.S. Army Special Forces – ‘Green Berets’ – have a hard won and legendary reputation for battlefield bravery. However we recognize that bravery comes in many forms. In order to recognize our neighbors and friends here in the central Rappahannock region who demonstrate exemplary courage and bravery we established an annual “Profiles in Courage – Bravery Beyond the Battlefield’ award. This award recognizes individuals who through their actions have faced great challenge or danger and come out on top. Their stories serve as an inspiration for all and represent the best in ourselves as citizens, our community, and our culture as Americans.
You may not nominate yourself for this award. You must have firsthand knowledge of an action or were a witness to an act or event involving the candidate to nominate a person (or persons) for the Profile In Courage Award.
If you are nominating a spouse, child, parent or other close relation it is highly recommended to have a second nominator listed that has knowledge of the accomplishment but is not related to the nominee.
The nominee shall not have been previously recognized by another organization for the same act or deed unless that organization is the primary employer (e.g. a Stafford County firefighter being recognized by Stafford County Fire and Rescue for a heroic act).
Nominee must be a resident of, or employed in, the greater Fredericksburg area which includes the city of Fredericksburg, and the counties of King George, Fauquier, Orange, Spotsylvania, Caroline, and Stafford
To be considered for the Profile In Courage Award, one or more of the following criteria shall have been met by the nominee:
- Initiated, or was directly involved, in an act that saved, or attempted to save, a life or lives while putting themselves at great risk of injury or death
- Defeated an extreme personal hardship (physical, financial, substance dependence, etc.) and elevated themselves to be a role model for others going through a like difficulty
- Dedicated significant personal time and resources for the betterment of another person, whether it be family, friend, coworker, neighbor, etc., through education, physical assistance, counseling or motivation
- Dedicated significant personal time and resources for the betterment of an organization or entity that supports the community such as hospitals, churches, shelters or food banks.
- Volunteered as a caretaker for an individual suffering a terminal or debilitating illness to provide comfort and support, and improve quality of life
2021 Profiles in Courage
Kira Taormina: Kira saved over 100 abandoned kittens and found all of them ‘Forever Homes” through ‘A Tail to be Told Animal Rescue.’ This effort saved the lives of the kittens and united them with loving homes providing happiness and companionship for hundreds of local residents. Many of the kittens were on the verge of death and required dedicated attention to nurse them back to health. Her unselfishness and dedication to animal safety has contributed to the happiness in the community in a very impactful way.
Jessica White: Jessica is a high school business teacher and mother of four, including a special needs child. She still found the energy to run her own non-profit organizations ‘Gracie’s Gown’s’ from her basement. She has made over 6,000 hospital gowns for children in our area and around the world with chronic and life-threatening conditions. Since the pandemic began she has made just as many reusable facemasks while homeschooling and teleworking fulltime as a program manager in 2020.
Carol Griffith: A friend of Carol’s had a son who was born with polysistic kidney disease. He had his 1st transplant from his father at age 14 and lived a normal life until that failed at age 24 in 2006. He survived on dialysis for the next 14 years not able to travel or work living on disability income alone. The odds were bleak of finding a donor. About this time Carol met Ryan’s mother at a local gym and became friends. When she learned of the story she immediately volunteered her kidney. After testing it was determined it was not a match but because she had volunteered Ryan was now moved to the top of the national registry list. In Nov 2020 Ryan got the call he had been waiting for and Carol’s kidney is now helping someone else reclaim their life.
Doug’s uncle was diagnosed with liver failure in February 2021. He was put on the liver transplant list but his body was failing fast. Doug volunteered for the living donor transplant program and put himself in for testing. It was a match. In March 2021 some 67% of Doug’s liver was removed and transplanted to his uncle. Both are doing very well over one year later.
2019 Profiles in Courage
Presented to Debbie Sparks
The Richard L. Ferguson Memorial Chapter (Chapter XC/90) initiated it’s 1st annual Bravery Beyond the Battlefield award in 2019.
We were proud to present the 2019 Courage Award to Ms. Debbie Sparks, who was honored and presented with a plaque at the annual Chapter Holiday Party in January 2020. Ms. Sparks was chosen from multiple nominees due to her outstanding efforts to better the lives of children in our local community, as well as supporting nationwide veteran-related efforts.
She chose to adopt a young boy with significant emotional issues and provide him with a safe, loving home and an opportunity for a real future that was not going to happen in his previous situation.
Ms. Sparks was also the National Operations Manager for the Wreaths Across America project.