Berry Law: Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyers is dedicated to supporting fellow Veterans with their legal needs, and we are excited to offer a $500 nomination-based cash prize to a Veteran who has continued to serve our community after service. Based on all the nominations we received, five Veterans were chosen as finalists for the 2020 Reward a Veteran award. Please help us select a winner by voting for the Veteran you think is most deserving.
Please click the Veterans name below to read their nomination information before casting your vote.
Irreverent Warriors is a Veteran non-profit that uses humor and camaraderie in order to improve mental health and prevent veteran suicide. Since 2015 this organization has been serving Nebraska area veterans. After the first hike, he jumped on the leadership team and helped ensure the success of our hikes for years to come. It is rare to find an individual who can be thrown into any situation and help promote and grow an organization and Jacob did exactly that! Over the past 5 years, his passion for the veteran community has been undeniable serving in leadership roles both within this origination and the Marine Corps League. This year I stepped down as Nebraska director and the organization would have failed without a solid leader.
Jacob Fry was the perfect fit to take over and I was beyond excited when he stepped up and said he would take on the task. Over the past year under Jacob’s leadership, our Nebraska IW team has GROWN in size and in turn grown in mission impact. Jacob has taken our mission to the next level selflessly sacrificing all of his personal time and adding on multiple events throughout the year. This includes being one of the founding members attempting to create a “War Council” which will be a meeting and line of communication with all of the Veteran Non Profits in Nebraska. Jacob Fry is the definition of servant leadership and there is no doubt in my mind that Veterans all across the Nebraska area have made it through this COVID mental health crisis because of Jacob.
Jacob was a member of the UNL veteran group, and never held an office more of an advisor. He was the Sr. Vice commandant for the MCL cornhusker detachment and also put together the 3/7 reunion in Omaha with his own time and money which had over 200 3/7 marines attend, ranging from Vietnam to a Marine that got out 2 months prior in 2018.
Enlisting after college in 2015, Sergeant Kyle Cartwright is an active a member of the Army and has established himself as an outstanding leader in our community through his profession, service and commitment to Lincoln and Nebraska. He works to create pathways for others’ success through networking groups, mentorship, education and internships, while always proudly representing his military service. He has committed himself to making his community a better place through his profession, volunteer leadership and entrepreneurial endeavors.
In his volunteer service, Kyle currently serves President of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lincoln, Founding Chair of Lincoln Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, and Treasurer of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has previously served on the Lincoln Young Professionals Group Leadership Council and NextGen Lincoln Advisory Board, both of which he still holds membership. Kyle seeks to connect the military community through these volunteer experiences to create bridges between the needs of the broader community and the service propensity of the military profession.
In his career, Kyle has served in the nonprofit sector improving Lincoln for nearly seven years. Following a music degree at UNL, he began his career as a music teacher for LPS. Soon after, he began working for the Lincoln Community Foundation in 2014, where he was involved in place-based community development, encouraging philanthropy in other young people, and convening local leaders and assets to make Lincoln a better place to live. Thereafter, he joined the Lied Center, where he raised money to support their educational and outreach efforts. In 2018, at the age of 26, Kyle became the youngest Executive Director in the history of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, a $23 million organization that serves to sustain the arts and humanities for Nebraskans statewide. Kyle is also co-founder of SEAchange, an entrepreneurial venture that supports local and regional businesses in equipping themselves to respond to talent and consumer demands for broader business accountability and purpose. His vision is to help business be a force for good.
Ron is proud of serving his country. He talks about it with others as often as possible. He is not proud in the way of saying, “Look what I did.” He is proud in the sense of “I love my country, and this was the least I could have done.” Ron has worked as a plumber for much of his life. He is in his 70’s, and still does plumbing work every day. He does it for much less than it’s worth for those in need. One of the most impressive things about Ron (and his wife, Judi) is that Ron is a founding member of a group called OVER. It stands for “Operation Veterans Encouraging Recovery.” They were able to remodel a house that was donated to them to help Veterans. Ron did all of the plumbing. This house has, I believe, 4 bedrooms, and is offered to veterans who deal with substance use disorder. Veterans are welcome to stay at the house if they follow a few regulations. They must attend meetings, they must remain sober, and they must seek work. Every year, Ron, Judi, and other members of OVER hold several fundraisers and raise a great deal of money to continue to fund the house. I am impressed for what Ron has continued to do in order to help his fellow veterans.
I met Keith four years ago and was instantly impressed with his “can do” attitude and determination to help others. In 2009 he was struck by a roadside bomb while serving in Iraq. He sustained injuries to his right leg, shattering his femur, knee and endured major blood loss. He didn’t know if he would walk again. In addition to multiple surgeries to repair his leg, he suffered a TBI that affects his memory. That didn’t stop Keith from not only walking again but finding the strength to continually challenge himself in life. He competes in many running competitions, climbed a mountain, and competed on tv shows – to show that he can beat his injury despite still having shrapnel in his leg. Keith is a constant motivator to other people, encouraging them to push forward, beat the odds and surpass their challenges. You never hear him complain, even though he is in pain himself. He volunteers in his community with Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln with his brother Ken who also served and his girlfriend, Sarah. Keith is “one of the good ones.”
Larry has been a great advocate for all veterans by keeping their service known to the public for many years. He has interviewed over 250 veterans and disseminated their stories in the local newspaper for several years for the Veterans History Project. He has collected around 140 uniforms and display pieces (pictured right) from all branches of the service and has them on display in his “Veterans History” museum just off main street in Sidney, Nebraska. Larry takes these uniforms to public places like the schools, parades and to the cemetery on Memorial Day. He works tirelessly with the DAV and drives veterans to the Cheyenne Hospital for their appointments. Larry offers his Veterans’ History building to the Daughters of the American Revolution to hold meetings in an inspiring setting. Larry invites school children to his museum collection and has many stories to share with young people. His patriotism is on display every day and I am honored to be associated with such a great patriot in our town.