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Beck PRIDE Center receives $1.6 million from federal government appropriations

Jan. 25, 2010 -- The Beck PRIDE Center for America’s Wounded Veterans at Arkansas State University has received a $1.6 million appropriation from the federal government through the extraordinary efforts of Arkansas Congressman Marion Berry and his staff, other members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation, and bill sponsor Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania.

The funding comes from the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 3326, allocated for active and reserve personnel in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force as well as National Guard personnel in the Army and Air Force.

Congressman Berry and Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor are members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, which allowed them the opportunity to help formulate the bill. President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law after it was passed by Congress shortly before Christmas.

 “We are delighted with the appropriation and thank our congressional officers and staff for enabling efforts to serve our veterans,” said Dr. Susan Hanrahan, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “The Beck PRIDE Center is an exemplary program.”

The Beck PRIDE Center is housed within the College of Nursing and Health Professions and is located in the new Donald W. Reynolds Center for Health Sciences on the ASU-Jonesboro campus.

“We are thrilled about receiving the appropriation,” said Susan Tonymon, director of the Beck PRIDE Center and an appointee by Gov. Mike Beebe to the Arkansas Yellow Ribbon Task Force, which helps to foster Arkansas programs and services for veterans. “This funding will aid in expanding our program and the development of materials which provide assistance for the growing number of veterans and family members in our program. It’s going to be a tremendous help to our work at the Beck PRIDE Center.

“While advances in vehicles, personal armor, and medical care have saved numerous lives on the battlefield, we are still faced with a staggering number of men and women who have sustained serious debilitating wounds and psychological injuries as a result of combat. This funding provides tremendous assistance in intensifying our efforts.”

The Beck PRIDE Center’s mission includes providing combat wounded veterans and their families with educational programs and services at Arkansas State, including counseling, personal rehabilitation, financial assistance, and career planning and enhancement. PRIDE is an acronym for Personal Rehabilitation, Individual Development and Education. 

“In addition to several private grants already made to the program, this substantial appropriation will allow the Beck PRIDE Center to serve significantly more than the approximately 80 wounded veterans and their families now in the program and will also assist in expanding its geographical scope to other universities and states,” said ASU Chancellor Robert L. Potts.  “We are deeply grateful to Congressman Berry, and Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor for their outstanding support for this and other appropriations to ASU.” 

“Congress must do everything in its power to ensure our troops have the tools they need before they leave, on the battlefield, and when they return home,” Congressman Berry said.

The center was made possible through the generosity of Buddy and Charlotte
Beck, alumni of ASU who reside in Fairfax Station, Va. The Becks originally presented the university with $1 million in 2008 to initiate the program, and they had a vision that other funds would flow to the program in order to sustain and expand it. 

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