Nashville, Tennessee (TN Tribune) – Marine Corps veteran Corporal Richard Casper, a Nashville non-profit leader and co-founder of CreatiVets, was named a Nation’s Finest 50. He received the award for helping veterans with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury by providing them with opportunities to engage in the creative arts. Through his organization, Casper has helped hundreds of veterans heal and overcome the challenges of reintegration into civilian life. Casper is also an accomplished musician and songwriter and has used his talents to inspire and uplift other veterans.
“We are proud to award Corporal Richard Casper with the Nation’s Finest 50 Award,” said Nation’s Finest CEO Chris Johnson. “He has collaborated with notable musicians and artists to create powerful works of art that have been showcased across the country. Casper’s work has been recognized by numerous organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, and he continues to be a strong advocate for the healing power of the arts for veterans.”
Nation’s Finest is one of the largest and most successful Veterans services organizations in the United States. The organization was founded to support veterans returning from the Vietnam War 50 years ago by providing critical housing, health, and employment support to ensure veterans reach their full potential. Nation’s Finest marked its 50th anniversary with a milestone event honoring 50 leaders from across the nation who have gone above and beyond to support veterans with the first-ever Nation’s Finest 50 Award.
“For the past 50 years, Nation’s Finest has been guiding our veterans home. We created the Nation’s Finest 50 Award to recognize and celebrate 50 people during this anniversary year who have gone above and beyond to support our veterans,” said Nation’s Finest CEO Chris Johnson. “While the world has changed greatly during the past five decades since we were founded to support Vietnam veterans, the work of so many remarkable individuals and organizations continues to make a tremendous impact in helping support our veterans. We celebrate and honor 50 of the finest.”
During the award ceremony, Nation’s Finest announced and unveiled a traveling and online exhibition featuring the Nation’s Finest 50 Awardees, along with a social media campaign that shares their personal stories, work and impact within the veterans’ community. The exhibition will travel to several cities, beginning in California, Arizona, and Nevada this summer. The goal is to raise greater awareness about veterans’ issues, the work of Nation’s Finest, and programs available across the country to support veterans.
Nation’s Finest 50 Award honorees were selected from hundreds of hardworking and inspiring individuals nominated by the public to receive the prestigious award and selected by a distinguished Blue Ribbon Panel appointed by Nation’s Finest. The panel was chaired by Koby Langley, a two-tour veteran and Bronze Star recipient, and included community leaders and veterans, including Major General (retired) James A. “Spider” Marks, among others.
The recipients of the first-ever Nation’s Finest 50 Awards range from military veterans, founders and leaders of nonprofit organizations, and community and corporate leaders to actors, musicians, comedians, philanthropists, and researchers. Among the 50 veterans awardees are Vietnam veteran Jack Jacobs; NAMVETS founder William Sims; Team Rubicon CEO Art Delacruz; Women Warriors CEO Jodie Grenier; Actor Montel Williams; IAVA founder Paul Rieckoff; Blue Star Families founder Kathy Roth-Douquet; CreatiVets co-founder Richard Casper; John 14:2 founder and Navy veteran Ginger Miller; country music singer Trace Atkins; actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks; Paramount Global Chief Veteran Officer Rich Jones; and military spouse advocate and author Sue Hoppin.
The programs and impact of Nation’s Finest continue to grow, having served over 150,000 veterans and provided over $275 million in direct services in more than 30 locations. For more information about the Nation’s Finest 50 Award, the full biographies and personal stories of each honoree, and to watch the award ceremony which includes touching video tributes, visit www.nationsfinest.org.