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ICF International gives $20K to DAV
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Dr. Douglas Beck (left) ICF International senior vice president and director of corporate development, presents a check for $20,000 to F. Gidget Rizzo, national service supervisor of Virginia for Disabled American Veterans on Monday at Patriot Centre Industrial Park. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

ICF International presented a check for $20,000 to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at a Veterans Day commemoration Monday.

About 40 people attended the ceremony outside ICF International’s business operations center in the Patriot Centre Industrial Park. ICF International hosted the commemoration.

Steven Anderson, director/public affairs for ICF, said this is the second of a three-year financial commitment ICF International has made to DAV: about $20,000 a year, for a total of $60,000.

According to company officials, ICF International, which opened its Henry County operations center a little less than a year ago, now has a little over 200 full-time, benefited employees there, and 24 of them are veterans.

Dr. Frank Abramcheck, ICF International senior vice president and group lead for market research and business processing, said the company’s goal is to have about 540 employees here by 2014.

He said Veterans Day is a time to remember, recognize and say thank you to veterans for their sacrifices and contributions. He recalled the famous quote, “Freedom is not free.”

Matthew Wade, Region III (Southwest Virginia) director for the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program, said VWWP provides a network of community-based services to help veterans and their families overcome the challenges of stress-related and traumatic brain injuries.

F. Gidget Rizzo, national service officer supervisor of the DAV national service office in Roanoke, told the history of DAV and the services it offers.

According to the DAV website, the 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) charity dedicated to building better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families.

The DAV was founded in 1920 by disabled veterans returning from World War I to represent their unique interests, according to the DAV website. Rizzo described a lack of services in the United States for injured “Doughboys” who came home after the war.

In 1932, the DAV was congressionally chartered as the official voice of the nation’s wartime disabled veterans, according to the DAV website.

It says DAV provides a variety of services for service-connected disabled veterans, their dependents and survivors. In 88 offices throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico, the DAV employs a corps of about 260 National Service Officers (NSOs) who represent veterans and their families with claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense and other government agencies. Veterans need not be DAV members to take advantage of this assistance, which is provided free of charge.

NSOs function as attorneys-in-fact, assisting veterans and their families in filing claims for VA disability compensation and pension; vocational rehabilitation and employment; education; home loan guaranty; life insurance; death benefits; health care and more. They provide free services, such as informational seminars, counseling and community outreach. NSOs also represent veterans and active-duty military personnel before Discharge Review Boards, Boards for Correction of Military Records, Physical Evaluation Boards and other official panels, according to the DAV website.

It says DAV also provides services for soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, guardsmen and officers making the transition back into civilian life. And DAV offers services for homeless veterans and disaster relief, among other services.

Rizzo said at the ceremony Monday: “God bless and protect the men and women in harm’s way and our veterans who have kept our country free.”

Dr. Doug Beck, ICF International senior vice president and director of corporate development, said DAV is one of three nonprofits the 4,500 employees of ICF International have chosen to support. Anderson said the other two are the Trust for Public Land and the American Cancer Society.

Beck presented the giant check for $20,000 and said it is intended to help DAV with its vital work.

Rizzo responded: “We appreciate this very much. This is definitely going to help.”

One of the spectators, Debra Buchanan, who represents the Horsepasture District on the Henry County Board of Supervisors, said she “was excited to learn” the extent to which ICF International is involved in hiring veterans and supporting DAV. “You couldn’t ask for a better corporate citizen,” she said.

Bob Hayzlett praised ICF International for the donation to DAV. He volunteers as a local service officer for the DAV.

Mary Rae Carter, Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade for rural economic development, also praised ICF International.

“The fact they support veterans is a very noble cause on their behalf, and effort,” she said. “I applaud them for it.”

Her son, Sims Carter, served in the Air Force; her husband, Larry Carter, served in the National Guard; and her father, Raymond Maxwell Hite, served in the military during World War II and, while in the Navy in 1961, died in a plane crash while trying to break the low-altitude speed record, she said.

In addition to the ceremony, ICF International hosted the DAV’s mobile service office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. It provided local veterans and their families access to benefit services such as development of evidence, claims application assistance and other advice regarding access to benefits.

According to its website, ICF International was founded in 1969 as the Inner City fund, a venture capital firm whose mission was to finance inner-city businesses. “Our first president was C.D. Lester, a former Tuskegee Airman, who was joined in the firm by three U.S. Department of Defense analysts. Our consulting business proved more successful than our investments, and in 1972, the firm was reorganized as a consulting firm and renamed ICF Incorporated.”

According to a National Park Service exhibit, “‘Tuskegee Airmen’ refers to all who were involved in the so-called ‘Tuskegee Experiment,’ the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.”

Today ICF International partners with government and commercial clients to deliver professional services and technology solutions in the energy, environment and infrastructure; health, social programs, and consumer/financial; and public safety and defense markets, according to its website.


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