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The Atlantic Award Group is proud to announce the presentation of it’s first award in the United States of America. As many of you know, we recently expanded our network and  began taking nominations from across the globe.

While we have limited resources outside of Canada and the United Kingdom, we were adamant that an award had to go to the US in 2015; so with the help of several universities, we prepared a marketing project to encourage students to get involved with the AAG. This campaign was supported by a social network campaign focused at encouraging Americans to take a moment and make a nomination for someone extraordinary. Before long, the nominations were arriving.

Thankfully, after several months of intense research, one of those nominations, led to an award.

On Wednesday, June 17, Tatiana Zenzano, Medical Director of the Arlington Paediatric Centre presented Neal Lawson the first US award for the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation.

The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation “provides access to medical services, counselling and support for economically vulnerable mothers-to-be, newborn babies and postpartum mothers who don’t have the means or resources to start their journey on solid footing.”

The story behind the foundation is a touching tale, but most importantly takes a tragic moment and creates rays of hope for others.

Jennifer became pregnant with her first child in 2007, her first pregnancy was nothing out of the ordinary but the child arrived early. It wasn’t until her second and third child arrived that challenges arose with both of those babies being preterm and facing issues with underdeveloped lungs. Thanks to the dedication, guidance and technical skills of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Virginia Hospital Center, both children eventually made a safe trip home with their mother. You can read Jennifer’s full story on the foundations website.

On February 24th, 2014, after strapping her child into the car, Jennifer was struck by a dump truck. She was taken to the Inova Fairfax Hospital but sadly passed later that day.

Jennifer’s husband, Neal Lawson, said he has devoted himself to honoring his wife’s memory. On the anniversary of her death, Lawson announced formally that he had started the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation to help provide funding for mothers-to-be and newborns. Michele Werner, the director of development for Virginia Hospital Center, told the Washington Post that Neal and the Foundation had already been working with her group to support those causes and had raised about $45,000.

“Jennifer was an amazing person to everyone, positively impacting more lives than she could have imagined. In this tragedy, her kind heart and dedication to giving must be realized, honored and remembered. The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation was a vision that Jennifer crafted. The Foundation is an extension of who she was and will strive to achieve the vision Jennifer had for helping every mother and child in need.” reads the foundations website.

Several months ago, the AAG reached out to Michele Werner at the Virginia Hospital Centre and asked for the hospitals assistance in arranging this presentation and they were more than happy to assist, for which we are most thankful for.

Project Director for the AAG, Alex Maine said that as a “newbie” father himself, he felt for Neal and his children and admired how he had taken a truly crippling ordeal and created a sense of meaning and hope from it.

“We receive many nominations and many of them are truly heartbreaking, but when we select recipients, we’re not looking for people to take pity on, we’re looking for the extraordinary just like our mandate says. What I find so extraordinary about this story is how someone can take something such as this and create a positive cause from it.”

“I think a lot can be learned from Neal, and even though I’ve never met Neal in person, I admire what he has done, and respect him not only as a good man, but as a good father. I hope that even though this award is for the foundation, that Neal knows this award is as much his and as much Jennifer’s, because without them, the foundation would not be there at all.”

“Everyone who has been involved with the foundation, whether that be from an administration perspective or a donor, congratulations on forming and extraordinary foundation.”

In an email to the AAG, Neal said he was very moved by the award and hoped the award would maximize the impact of the foundation.

The AAG would like to thank everyone who worked with us to make this award possible.

You can make a nomination for anyone or anything by visiting http://atlanticaward.com/nominate and give someone or something a memory and a memento to treasure for a lifetime.