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Dr. Jill Biden Honors Winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge

Posted by Kirsten White on April 11, 2012 at 04:49 PM EDT

Yesterday, Dr. Biden joined General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Deanie Dempsey, to congratulate the finalists and winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge. Dr. Biden and Mrs. Dempsey sat down with the winners to hear their stories. The winning organizations provide scholarships for military families, greet and support troops and families at an airport in Minnesota, collect hockey equipment for military children, provide retreats for military families reuniting after deployment, provide free mental health services for members of the military, and extend support from an entire community to a local National Guard unit.

Dr Jill Biden at a Joining Forces event at the Pentagon

Dr. Jill Biden, Mrs. Deanie Dempsey and USO President Sloan Gibson congratulate the finalists and winners of the Joining Forces Community Challenge at the Pentagon.

The JFCC winners told Dr. Biden and Mrs. Dempsey how important it has been for their organizations to establish a personal connection to the military families they support. Shane, a founder of Defending the Blue line, shared how he and others in the organization have been personally impacted by the children they have helped. The organization recently donated hockey equipment to a 7-year-old boy whose father was killed during his deployment. They learned that the boy loved playing hockey, and that it was so important for him to get to the rink and bond with other kids. His coaches formed a web of support for the boy while he was grieving, and they have become like father figures to him. The equipment Defending the Blue Line provided for him is helping him through his grief. Shane told the group how that experience meant so much to him and other volunteers.

All twenty of the JFCC finalists are winners. They are making the difference in the lives of military families every single day. They are shining examples of what Joining Forces is all about, and Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden hope their stories inspire all Americans, and demonstrate that anyone can find a creative ways to support these brave families, who have given so much to all of us.

Check out this slideshow highlighting the first year of Joining Forces:

  • Joining Forces Launch

    The First Lady speaks during the launch of Joining Forces in the East Room, April 12, 2010.

News article in it's entiretly can be found here....