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Remarks at Veterans Committee Program: Wrapping Up Panelist Tribute to John P. Wheeler, III and Introducing the 2015 Winner of the John P. Wheeler Veterans Charity Award

Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher

May 20, 2015

Good afternoon, and thank you for attending this Memorial Day Tribute to the life and career of Jack Wheeler, a truly remarkable individual and respected alumnus of this agency.[1] Since joining the Commission in 2011, it has been my distinct honor and privilege to serve as the sponsor of the SEC’s Veterans Committee. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this year’s tribute, but I did want to say a few words to those paying honor to Mr. Wheeler today.

As you have heard throughout this program, Mr. Wheeler’s tireless efforts on behalf of America’s veterans are both impressive and praiseworthy. And so I am proud to announce today the creation of the “John P. Wheeler Veterans Charity Award.” This award will be presented annually to an individual who demonstrates Jack Wheeler’s extraordinary commitment to veterans and veterans’ causes.

Fittingly, the first recipient of the “Wheeler Award” is Susan Schneider, the founder and long-serving Chair of the SEC Veterans Committee.

Susan founded the Veterans Committee in 2008 and was the brainchild behind the Committee’s first project, raising funds to purchase and deliver hundreds of prepaid phone cards to America’s troops overseas. She also arranged for Senator Bob Dole to speak at the Committee’s first Memorial Day Program. In the seven years that have followed, Susan has overseen programs featuring an impressive slate of speakers, including the Tuskegee Airmen, Ambassador Kenneth Moorefield, and Lt. Colonel Frank Gregg of the 101st Airborne.

Under Susan’s stewardship, the Veterans Committee has for seven years been one of the largest local supporters of the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots charity drive. Last year, thanks to Susan’s hard work in building this agency’s program, the SEC was the largest single contributor to the District of Columbia’s Toys for Tots campaign.

Susan and the other dedicated volunteers on the Committee are also actively involved with many of Washington’s most impactful veterans’ programs, including the Honor Flight Network, which greets World War II veterans at regional airports and escorts them around the city; Wreaths Across America, which provides wreaths in veterans cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery; and the Holiday Mail for Heroes Program, which sends Christmas cards to active duty service men and women deployed overseas. Susan and the other volunteers have also been laying in-roads with members of the Wounded Warrior Project to escort wounded service men and women to the SEC’s Veterans Day and Memorial Day programs.

Susan’s most notable work, however, is her direct and personal assistance to the SEC’s active duty reservists, veterans, and veteran families. Susan regularly works with these employees, assisting them with items like healthcare benefits, leave for reserve duty, bereavement, and burial benefits. She offers new veteran employees assistance with depositing military time, and assists prospective veteran employees with questions about the application process. Finally, she works closely with the agency’s Presidential Management Fellows, who are all veterans of the Armed Forces, in mentoring, finding mentors, career planning, and networking.

In 2006, Susan had a dream, to start a Committee at the SEC devoted to veterans’ causes. It was her force of will that brought the Committee into existence, and it is her hard work and determination that keep this Committee active in serving the veteran employees of this agency, as well as the service men, women, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce Susan Schneider as the inaugural recipient of the John P. Wheeler, III Veterans Charity Award. Congratulations, Susan, and thank you for your dedication to and tireless efforts on behalf of the Committee.

I hope you enjoy the rest of today’s program.

[1] John P. (Jack) Wheeler was a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran who co-founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which financed construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in 1982. From 1978 to 1986, Wheeler was Assistant General Counsel, Special Counsel to Chairman, and finally Secretary of the SEC.

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