You may vote for one finalist, once per day, between 12:00am CT and 11:59pm CT.

The Five (5) Finalists' Entries will be displayed on the Contest Website between July 5, 2013 at 12:00am CT and August 6, 2013 at 11:59pm CT. Public voting will determine the Grand Prize Winner from the finalists' entries.

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Jason Simms

E-5, Marine Corps

15447
How does your nominee exemplify hard work, determination, and durability?
The Marine Corps was my husband, Jason's reason for living. He was devastated when he had to medically retire in 2008. The Dept of Navy (HRSC) came to the Wounded Warrior Barracks at Camp Lejeune, where Jason was working (Platoon Sgt). They help find Marines (and other branches) any government employment after they enter civilian life. The HRSC hired him a couple months later to help anyone find government employment. Shortly after he was hired-He started to specialize in finding Wounded Warriors employment. Most people would just do their job. Jason isn't most people, he puts his heart and soul into his job. He started traveling to the WWB (Lejeune) with the HRSC, he brought them into the Semper Fi Odyessy (Wounded Warrior retreat in Boswell, PA) as well as the Wounded Warrior Marine Detachment in BAMC. When he goes to these places, he always shares his story of his injuries as well as his success with the Wounded Warrior Program with the HRSC. He will sit and talk to anyone who needs a listening ear, support, encouragement, direction, and just brotherly bonding. Jason misses the Marine Corps every day and wishes he were still active. Being able to go and talk to his military brothers and sisters helps him heal, helps him learn, gives him a sense of accomplishment, and two of the things he misses the most...the Marine Corps and camaraderie that comes along with it. He has gone above and beyond to make sure this program is a success. Most people get a headache or had a bad night sleep, the entire world will know about it. You would never know my husband lives in pain every day. You will never hear my husband complain about his injuries, TBI, or PTSD. He probably gets around 3-4 hours of sleep (on a good night), he has never called off and gets up every morning at 6:15 to head to work. . He has good and bad days but he always makes the best of it. He isn't bitter or resentful. He doesn't agree that he is a hero. He always says he was doing the same thing his other brothers were doing, he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. He will tell you that one of his best buddies, LCpl Timothy Creager, the driver on his vehicle who sadly made the ultimate sacrifice that day is the hero.

How has your nominee shown courage in the face of adversity?
Sadly his career ended when he was medically retired in April of 2008. His LAV hit an IED on July 1st, 2004. Jason was critically injured. He suffered from 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his face and hands, had his little finger amputated, was shot 3 times in the leg, suffers from TBI from hitting his head on the LAV from the force of the blast, PTSD,had over 20 painful surgeries, had to learn how walk again. Instead of letting this bring him down- like a Marine, he saw this as a challenge and wasn't letting the enemy win. He fought through the skin graphs, painful hours of therapy to walk and to make fists and he fights every day to his recovery. Although his fight will never be over, my husband will never give up. He strives to do his best with everything. There is no challenge to great or scary for him. He almost didn't make it through his initial injuries but he is Marine-they don't give up.

What does your nominee mean to you and / or your family?
Jason is absolutely amazing. He can make you feel special just by looking at you. Jason has taught and showed me what it is like to be loved and safe in every way. He will endanger himself to keep us safe. Move the world just so we won't get hurt. And when hurt is inevitable, he will absorb as much of it as he can. He is everything that I could only hope our kids will aspire to be when they are older. He always puts himself last to make sure we are happy and have everything we want and need. There are days when he is limping because his feet/leg/back hurt so badly but he will still play with our kids, we still go on dates, and we still travel. Our kids will always look back and remember their childhood with their amazing father. Words couldn't ever express how much we adore, need, and love him. I am so thankful that I am lucky and blessed enough to have married my best friend, soul mate, and hero. So what does Jason mean to us, that is simple.......EVERYTHING!!
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Tommy Capps

PFC, Army

14256
How does your nominee exemplify hard work, determination, and durability?
Tom was an 18 year old high school dropout when he was drafted in 1966. His MOS was 11B10; small arms infantry. He survived only 3 months and one day in Vietnam as a Combat Infantryman. He was on a search and destroy mission and while searching for weapons in a hutch he was blown up. He lost his left eye and part of his left arm. He has shrapnel nerve damage to his face and his body contains shrapnel.

How has your nominee shown courage in the face of adversity?
Tom returned to his home town of Stover, Missouri and went back to High School. He graduated at the age of 21. He laughs about being the only Senior that also drove a school bus. Tom continued his career in Law Enforcement, being a Deputy Sheriff; Chief of Police; Investigative Detective and then ending his last 13 years with the Missouri STAT (State Technical Assistance Team). This team investigated the most heinous of crimes against children - sexual abuse and murders. When he retired 10/01/2010 he had been instrumental in convicting and sending to prison over 230 abusers and pedophiles. He now suffers from a disease called Polycythemia Vera, and takes Chemo everyday. He works hard and has never let his war wounds interfere with his commentment to his family and career. In retirement he works on his 9 acre Chestnut Orchard.

What does your nominee mean to you and / or your family?
Tom is the pillar of strength of our family. He has influenced his son, Andrew who joined the USMC and served in Desert Storm. He duly influenced his step-son, Dustin Dunklee, who is now a Captain in the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade and who just finished a year tour in Kuwait as a JAG officer and is currently the Prosecuting Attorney of Morgan County, Missouri. His hard work, stamina and respect of serving our Country makes him a hero to all his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
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Brian Storemski

SPC, Army

1748
How does your nominee exemplify hard work, determination, and durability?
Brian exemplifies hard work by staying involved and striving to recover. He tries to keep moving and continues to strengthen his leg, and core the best that he can. Throughout chemotherapy he continued to go to physical therapy, and didn't use it as an excuse to get out of activities. Before he was injured he took care of his men in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Even when Brian was not on duty he allowed his soldiers to call him at anytime if they ever needed anything. Even sometimes going to there house to care for them and check up on them. Brian exemplifies hard work by never giving up and doing the best that he can for the men around him.

How has your nominee shown courage in the face of adversity?
Brian has shown courage in the face of adversity by caring for his men after they were shot at and he was wounded himself. He was able to save Franz Walkup's life after having to pronounce his friend and sergeant dead. Also when they were hit by the biggest vehicle bombing ever marked in history Brian grab his boots and gun to run out and fight whatever was in front of him. He was able to work of the many Afghan people and soldiers involved in the bombing, saving many lives. He never froze up, or forget his training. Brian exemplified courage by being scared in multiple instances but by continuing to fight and help as many people as he could.

What does your nominee mean to you and / or your family?
My husband has been the biggest part of my life since we began dating when i was 19 years old. He keeps me strong, and helps me work towards being the best person I can be. He is the best person i have ever met, and I have never known anyone to say a bad thing about him. He is caring, kindhearted, smart and so very funny. My husband means the world to me and we would do anything for each other. Each day we have so much fun together and laugh so much. He is helpful the best he can be and listens to me when I need to talk. To his family, my family and me he is a hero and we are all very proud of him. He has a brother and sister that look up to their big brother and a puppy dog who adores him. This is his story and through it all he has kept his head high. My husband is my hero, and the hero to many of his fellow soldiers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. On September 29, 2012 my husband was his troops were attacked by ANA in Afghanistan. SFC Daniel Metcalfe, SPC Franz Walkup, and my husband were shot. Brian being their medic, saved Franz Walkup's life and worked on Daniel Metcalfe, who was not able to sustain his injuries. Both were shot multiple times. My husband was able to keep a cool head after being shot, allowing Franz to come home. Franz is now at Walter Reed hospital for treatment with his wife and family. Brian also endured life altering injuries. At the time of injury he lost bone in his ankle, and fractured multiple bones in his leg. He has had an ankle fusion in December, and is just beginning to walk on it now. He will never be able to run or jump on his own again. Through all of this he has been incredibly strong and upbeat. Also at the beginning of the year we discovered a large lump, after weeks of testing it was found to be cancer. He has undergone surgery due to the cancer, gone through chemotherapy, and is finishing up with radiation. My husband is my hero because even going through these traumatic events he is still very cheerful, kindhearted,and he never gives up. Brian Storemski means the world to us, and we are so very lucky to have him come home. To our family Brian means hope and accomplishments.
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Alison Messick

GS, RET Marine/Navy CIV

1228
How does your nominee exemplify hard work, determination, and durability?
Alison defines hard work, determination, and durability. In her position as the Warrior and Family Support Coordinator she continually gives 110% of her time, her energy, and her effort, in support of the families and the service members each and every day. Her passion for her work, for the men/women who selflessly serve, and for the families who surround them is unmistakable. It is not uncommon for Alison to give up personal time and time with her own family to support the families of others. She is truly special.

How has your nominee shown courage in the face of adversity?
Over the past several years our community has been through some tumultuous times. We have suffered loss that is unfathomable. Through it all, Alison has been the rock that we have depended on and when we weren't sure how best to handle any situation, she was always a phone call away. This community is deeply personal to her and this shows time and time again when the going gets tough. Not only has she given her all to this community, she gives it all on the homefront as well. Her ability to turn a horrible tragedy in to something positive is truly inspiring.

What does your nominee mean to you and / or your family?
This nomination is being submitted on behalf of my co-ombudsman and me. We recently endured a long 9-month deployment in which our husband's were overseas. Alison provided endless support and we had an opportunity to spend a great deal of time with her and with her own children. She always considered the needs of our families and other families within the community no matter what the cost. She completed a Master's degree while continuing to provide this support which is simply awesome. Without her support and guidance, getting through these last 9-months would have been tough. Her compassion, her ability to make people feel at ease, and her super sense of humor helped us navigate through some very difficult times. She is truly a hero to us, to her family, and to the community with which she selflessly serves.
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Kionte Storey

Retired Corporal, Marines

74
How does your nominee exemplify hard work, determination, and durability?
Retired Corporal Kionte Storey USMC has exceptionally exceeded the characteristics of hard work, determination, and durability. In September 2010 Storey had his leg amputated from a routine patrol in the "Green Zone" in Sangon, Helmand Province. During his boot camp days he was considered one of the most distinguished and top of his peers in the Marines. Presumably it took a long time for Storey to accept that he had lost part of his leg, but he had persevered through physical therapy. Kionte Storey

How has your nominee shown courage in the face of adversity?
Mr. Storey has faced adversity born and raised in Stockton, CA. Since having his leg amputated he has participated in many athletic events as the 10 mile run in the warrior games, various mudruns such as Tough Mudder, and attempted to try for the Paralympics in track. During the Warrior Games Storey was awarded three gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 4x1 in track. Not only he is athletic, but Mr. Storey is an inspirational speaker. He has travelled around the United States talking about his injury, and the courage he has taken to overcome any obstacles. He speaks to audiences of all ages about how one hurdle shouldn

What does your nominee mean to you and / or your family?
I met Corporal Storey through my cousin who we all lived in Stockton. Let
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