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For the last 6 years Dawn has served as the volunteer Event Coordinator for our largest fundraiser, Rockin’ For The Troops. This event draws up to 7,000 people each year and is a major source of revenue for our programs that serve active duty military, veterans and families of fallen service members. Dawn brings a wide range of skills including developing the project plan, working with the committee chairs to develop a cohesive team, and gently but firmly prodding when the time line isn’t being met. In addition, Dawn is an inspirational and visionary leader who can see issues in advance, develop strategies to overcome them and inspire her team to push past any problems. Putting on this major event requires a steering committee of around 35 people and planning over approximately nine months. Dawn oversees all of this while managing a full-time career in the financial industry.

It would be impossible to do all that she does without her deeply held conviction that our entire military community deserves the support and appreciation of every American for the sacrifices they make. Perhaps this conviction comes from being the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and knowing what was lacking for her father's generation, as well as her belief that the programs of Operation Support Our Troops America truly make a difference. When the day of event finally arrives, it is 15 grueling hours that would tax the hardiest endurance athlete and yet Dawn has been on site and in full control year after year including one year when she was just weeks out of the hospital after major surgery.

Dawn has impacted peoples’ lives by her generosity of spirit and willingness to help in all areas of putting on this major fundraiser. A successful fundraiser means Operation Support Our Troops - America can continue to support our military family - those deployed, those who have left the service, and those who have lost a loved one. The impact of these successes are immeasurable over the 6 years Dawn has been the Event Coordinator.

Dawn is what is known in military language as a “force multiplier”. Not only does she bring out the best in every committee member, she has the ability to build confidence because she never lets her team see her down or defeated. Dawn is considerate and compassionate of her team’s challenges and patiently works with them to accomplish their tasks and responsibilities. Her team is all volunteers, and perhaps the greatest leadership challenge is to lead people who don’t necessarily have to follow. Dawn’s style is one that makes people follow where she leads.

This donation would mean that Operation Support Our Troops America would be able to purchase some items needed in every comfort and care package in bulk as a cost savings. Examples of these items are foot powder and eye drops, which are requested by our deployed military members. We are also a customer of the United States Postal Service and pay about a $1 per pound shipping expense, so this would help with that cost as well. A third area that a portion of the money would help support is the grant program for veterans. Our one-time grant given to veterans is meant to be a hand up, helping them through a difficulty as they work to improve their lives. Expenses frequently requested are rent and utilities.

Rockin' for the Troops has raised over 4 million dollars for programs that support our military community in life changing ways. It is not an overstatement to say that Rockin' would not have been the success it is, and thousands would have lost much needed services without Dawn's passion, leadership and character. Dawn uses her position to mentor younger women who struggle with the challenges of being a female in a leadership role - and many have learned from her and been better in both their committee role and in their own careers because of Dawn’s mentorship and leadership.

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