The Marine Corps Association and Foundation (MCA&F) Ninth Annual Wounded Warrior Leadership Awards were presented on 16 September 2019 at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Triangle, Virginia, in recognition of the professional achievements of Marine and civilian personnel throughout the Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR).
Yvonne M. Jones, a Pay and Entitlements Specialist at WWR Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, was selected as the Civilian of the Year. Ms. Jones joined the staff at WWR shortly after retiring from the Marine Corps. Her role focuses on ensuring Marines are aware of the benefits and entitlements for wounded, ill, or injured Marines to assist with their recovery.
When Ms. Jones learned that she was this year’s recipient, she was surprised and humbled.
“I think about what the Marines and their families are going through when they are wounded, ill, or injured. It could be a career ending thing, and that’s a big deal!” Jones said. “We want to help these Marines transition to get better, to be able to stay in the Marine Corps, and if not, to give them the tools and help them financially that they can transition out with ease.”
Before the WWR stood up, care and recovery resources were coordinated through a wounded, ill, or injured Marine’s parent unit, making it more difficult to focus on transition. Ms. Jones is the first to stress that everyone at WWR works together to help Marines and their families – WWR staff has their best interests at heart, and all play a role in helping them.
When asked what this award meant to her, Ms. Jones shared she was “honored, but it was more than me. I enjoy what I do. I don’t do it to be recognized, I do it because I love doing it. I love taking care of our Marines. It’s more than me. I am humbled.”
Other recipients include Recovering Service Member of the Year: Gunnery Sgt. Steven T. McKay of Camp Pendleton; Marine Section Leader of the Year: Gunnery Sgt. Nicole M. Shimp of Camp Lejeune; Enlisted Leadership Award: Staff Sgt. Carlos Chavez, Jr., of Camp Pendleton; Officer Leadership Award: Capt. Samuel M. McGrury of Camp Lejeune; and Family Caregiver of the Year Award: Mrs. Alison Kuhns of Camp Pendleton.
The MCA&F Wounded Warrior Leadership Awards program was established by MCA&F to recognize the professional achievements of Marines, Sailors, and civilians within the Wounded Warrior Regiment.
The United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment provides leadership and ensures compliance with laws and DoD regulations related to the support, recovery, and non-medical care of combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured (WII) Marines, Sailors attached to Marine units, and their family members in order to maximize their recovery as they return to duty or transition to civilian life.