Our Family for Families First Receives People’s Choice Award, Praise from First Lady Michelle Obama
Fort Bragg, NC (April 12, 2012) – The Our Family for Families First Foundation, a private foundation affiliated with Rhode Island-based company, Picerne Military Housing, was honored Wednesday at the White House for its work on behalf of military families by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.
The Foundation was recognized as People’s Choice Winner of the Joining Forces Community Challenge (http://joiningforces.challenge.gov/) during a ceremony held on the South Lawn of the White House to spotlight citizens and organizations with a demonstrated, genuine and deep desire to be of service to military families. Tom Brokaw, Moranda Hern, and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke at the ceremony.
“Our company is built on the pillars of success, heart and dedication. The Our Family for Families First Foundation is another way for us to show our respect for the service members and families that we serve every day,” said John Picerne, president and CEO of Picerne Military Housing, who established the Our Family for Families First Foundation in 2006.
As part of its charitable mission, the Foundation provides educational scholarships and grants to the spouses and children of active-duty service members stationed at the seven military installations served by Picerne Military Housing. A 2009 scholarship recipient, Jada Salahuddin, and her father, Army Master Sergeant Majid Salahuddin, of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, attended the White House event with John Picerne and Maria Montalvo, executive director of the Foundation. Jada is currently studying journalism at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. She plans to become an Army officer after graduation.
Jada said, "In Mrs. Obama's speech, she was talking about why she and Dr. Biden started this campaign to support military families. At that moment, I really thought about why the Foundation deserved to be the People's Choice winner. They both shared the same objectives. I tmade me appreciate even more what the First Lady and John Picerne do for military families every day."
First Lady Michelle Obama said in announcing the finalists, “Jill and I are so proud of all of these finalists and the work that they have done for our military community. Our military families demonstrate such strength, service, and sacrifice every single day, and we’re so grateful for everyone who is stepping up to give back to these families. The challenge winners are leading by example, and showing that all of us can find a way to serve those who serve us.”
Jada, whose father is a solder in the 82nd Airborne Division, has lived in two states and a foreign country during the last five years. She said, “This scholarship allows me to focus more on my studies because I know I can pay for school. It has also helped my parents worry a lot less too.”
Jada added of meeting Mrs. Obama and having a photo taken with her. “It was like meeting a celebrity up close and personal. I was star struck.”
The Foundation qualified as a finalist for the award after being evaluated by a national selection panel composed of representatives from the service branches, Department of Defense, experts on family well-being, and community organizations. It earned the “People’s Choice” distinction after receiving nearly 17,000 online votes during a seven-week public voting period.
“The Joining Forces Challenge is a great way to let military families know that Americans are always thinking about them and to recognize the great sacrifices their families have made in service to our country,” Montalvo said. “We’re honored to be welcomed at the White House and proud to able to stand shoulder to shoulder with so many quality organizations that are doing great work to improve the quality of life for military families.”
The Foundation (http://ourfamilyforfamiliesfirst.org/) is committed to supporting military families in the pursuit of higher education, establishing a tradition of community service, and encouraging professional career paths. Each year, it awards 10 four-year scholarships of up to $50,000 to graduating high school students, and up to 20 $5,000 grants to spouses in any phase of education. More than $3 million in scholarships and grants have been awarded since 2006.
Jada said, “There’s no other scholarship that I know of that gives students the experience of the Our Family for Families First Foundation. They don’t just give out money and hope you do well. They stay in touch with you to make sure you’re succeeding. The Foundation treats all of us scholarship recipients as if we were their own children.”
The Foundation also runs an Adopt-a-Charity Program and works with each Picerne Military Housing installation team to identify local charities for “adoption” by the organization. Picerne Military Housing is an active member of the North Carolina philanthropic community and has recently supported the USO of North Carolina, Military Missions in Action, the 82nd Airborne Division’s Wounded Warrior Committee and the Armed Services YMCA.
About Picerne Military Housing
About Picerne Military Housing
Picerne Military Housing (www.picernemilitaryhousing.com) is a fully integrated development, construction and property management firm, founded in 1998 to provide dramatically improved housing for America’s service members and their families. Through the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI), Picerne is partnered with the Army in the ownership of approximately 20,000 homes at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Bragg, Fort Meade, Fort Polk, Fort Riley, Fort Rucker and Fort Sill, and will soon partner with the Air Force in the ownership of 4,000 homes at Edwards AFB, Eglin AFB, Eielson AFB, Hurlburt Field, McConnell AFB, and Seymour Johnson AFB. Picerne has become the military’s premier housing partner by staying focused on its core mission of putting the needs of service members and their families first.