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On May 23, the Case Foundation team had the honor of attending Give an Hour’s inaugural gala, “A Celebration of Service.” Nearly seven years ago, Barbara Van Dahlen, President of Give an Hour, created the organization, which provides free mental health services to military veterans and their families. Since its founding, more than 6,100 Give an Hour counselors have given over 50,000 hours of time to support those who have served us.
During the event, our CEO Jean Case was honored for her philanthropic work supporting public and private partnerships on civic participation and service, through such initiatives as A Billion Plus Change, the Startup America Partnership, and other programs through the Case Foundation, past and present. Jean noted how she had been inspired by her conversations with Barbara years ago, when Give an Hour was just an idea. “Those were fearless conversations back then,” she said. “We wouldn’t be here today without fearless leaders like Barbara.” Jean thanked the service members in the room, and told fellow honorees, U.S. military veterans Jennifer Crane and Justin Constantine, “You are emblems of exemplary service. Thank you.”
We were inspired by the stories of Jennifer, a U.S. Army combat veteran from Operation Enduring Freedom, who spoke of her experiences of being homeless and living with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder; and Justin, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom, who after being shot in the head with a sniper, made the long road to recovery with the support of his friends and family.
A Celebration of Service: Give an Hour Honors Veterans, Jean Case
Today, Jennifer is a spokesperson for Give an Hour, and is married with a daughter. Justin is also married, works on an FBI counterterrorism team, continues to serve as a Major in the Marine Corps Reserve as the Reserve Staff Judge Advocate for Marine Forces South in Miami, Florida, and serves on the board of the Wounded Warriors Project. The stories of both of these fearless heroes remind us of how important it is that we give back to those who have given to us so courageously and selflessly.
Barbara Van Dahlen joined Jean on stage for the special announcement that the nonprofit has been officially designated as a Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA), and they presented three mental health professionals in the room with the award. Additionally, Jean announced that the Case Foundation will award a grant to Give an Hour to encourage volunteerism, and to support the PVSA program.
Congratulations to Give an Hour on all its achievements, and thank you to all military members, who have served, are serving now, and those soon to serve.
“Not all scars are visible to the human eye. We all have them inside. It is what we choose to do with those battle wounds that make the difference. I will never be cured, but I can manage my condition and today I am able to have hope for a better tomorrow.” - Jennifer Crane