Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SDIA) is thrilled to announce that, thanks to the nomination by and support of Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, they are a Top 20 Finalist for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s 2019 Citizen Honors Awards. Winners will be announced in Washington, DC, at a special ceremony on National Medal of Honor Day, March 25.

The Citizen Honors Awards are presented each year to four citizens and one community organization to recognize those who embody the values of the Medal of Honor – courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship and patriotism – in their selfless and exceptional acts of bravery and community service. Since 2008, only 46 awards have been given.

“All of us at Sheep Dog Impact Assistance are humbled and honored to be considered and recognized as a Top 20 Finalist for this esteemed award,” said SDIA founder and president, SgtMaj Lance Nutt, USMC (Ret.). “This came as a complete surprise, and we cannot fully express our appreciation to Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton for nominating SDIA for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s 2019 Citizen Honors Award as a Community Service Hero.”

At the March 7 announcement ceremony, a member of Senator Cotton’s team recognized SDIA as a Top 20 Finalist, and said, “SDIA was founded in Rogers, Arkansas in 2010 to give service and personal-growth opportunities to those who have already served our nation so well, namely our military, law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMS professionals. These men and women are “sheep dogs” who have devoted part or all of their lives to protecting their flock, their flag, and their country. SDIA gives these men and women more chances to grow in civilian life through disaster-response missions, holiday charity projects, and monthly outdoor adventures like Spartan races and canoeing trips. These missions help “sheep dogs” recover the sense of camaraderie and meaning they felt while in uniform. On behalf of all Arkansans—and Americans—I’d like to thank everyone involved with Sheep Dog Impact Assistance for the incredible work you do to empower society’s protectors. You have earned this great honor.”

Coming just days after President Trump signed the executive order ‘President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide’ (PREVENTS Initiative), this underscores the importance of private sector organization programs, like those offered by SDIA, to help engage veterans and prevent suicides.

Recent figures reveal that more than 5,000 veterans ended their lives in 2018, and more first responders died by suicide than in the line of duty. Post-traumatic stress disorder, injuries, depression, addiction and isolation plague our military Veterans and First Responders to the point of thinking about and/or attempting suicide. SDIA strives to prevent suicides by gathering together Sheep Dogs who have suffered similar traumas and experiences to #GetOffTheCouch to be with peers and continue serving on Disaster Response Missions and Outdoor Adventures. The physically demanding activities spark the crucial camaraderie & peer support needed to foster healing, improve their attitude and perspective, and renew their sense of purpose.

The timing of this announcement couldn’t come at a better time, with SDIA’s 7th Annual Heroes Gala on April 27. Funds raised at the event fund their Disaster Response Mission and Outdoor Adventure programs which directly impact the lives of our nation’s heroes. Guest Speaker Cpl Nick Perales (USMC) was one of SDIA’s first two Sheep Dogs sponsored for an Outdoor Adventure; he will be joined by Guests of Honor Debbie Lee, Gold Star Mother & founder of America’s Mighty Warriors, and USMC Cpl Liam Fuller, owner of BlackGuard Customs LLC. Tickets to this formal fundraising event can be purchased at HeroesGala.givesmart.com.