(Washington, D.C.) - The National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations (NAVREF) held its fourth annual awards event on September 10th, honoring NAVREF members and staff nominated by their peers for demonstrating excellence in support of research and education for Veterans. The awards dinner was hosted by NAVREF CEO Rick Starrs at The Ritz Carlton Hotel Pentagon City in Arlington, Virginia in conjunction with NAVREF’s 26th Annual Conference.
The 2018 winners included Ms. Mary Thornton of the Palo Alto Veterans Institute of Research (PAVIR), who was awarded NAVREF’s prestigious Barbara West Award. Other awardees included Ms. Rebecca Rosales, Executive Director of the Northern California Institute of Research and Education (NCIRE) in San Francisco, and Mr. Kevin Hull, Executive Director of the West Side Institute for Science and Education (WISE) in Chicago.
Ms. Thornton was recognized for her outstanding service and dedication both to her nonprofit corporation (NPC) and to NAVREF. For 20 years, Ms. Thornton has provided valuable service to principal investigators and research staff through a variety of roles and responsibilities. Ms. Thornton participated in the establishment of the Palo Alto Institute for Research & Education, PAVIR's predecessor organization, and established most of the policies and procedures that have enabled PAVIR to become the second largest VA-affiliated NPC. Ms. Thornton is well-known and respected by her peers across the NPC community for developing systems and sharing her expertise.
Ms. Rebecca Rosales took home the NAVREF Board of Directors Award for the various contributions she has made to her local nonprofit corporation and the NAVREF community. Although she joined NCIRE less than two years ago, Ms. Rosales has overcome several local challenges while contributing her expertise and insight to the broader NAVREF community as a member of the conference program committee and the clinical trials committee.
Mr. Kevin Hull was awarded the Best Practice and Innovation Award for his novel approaches to engaging and partnering with the local community to improve the lives of veterans at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Mr. Hull’s creative thinking is bringing a new approach to how NPCs can build successful, meaningful, and sustaining partnerships within their communities. His passionate outreach has generated projects to beautify and improve his medical center and raised additional funding sources to support VA research and education activities.