|Sarasota, Fl May 24/ Pope Golf Inc, announced that Director of Lifestyle Management, Kathleen Gagg, received the “Outstanding Civilian Service Award” from the U.S. Army in recognition of her service in support of the military. The award is the third-highest public service honor the U.S. Army can bestow upon a civilian. A special “Twilight Tattoo – Salute from the Chief” military pageant, featuring the U.S. Army Band and soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, commemorated the occasion, which took place at Whipple Field in Fort Myer, adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Wednesday May 23rd. Presenting the honor to Gagg was General Ray Odierno, the 38th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
Gagg is a successful business woman, recognized as a multimillion-dollar producer in real estate but her true passion lies in helping numerous organizations, initiatives and programs whose goals are to serve our country’s military and their families. She was honored for her outstanding service to the United States Army, Veterans, and the Families of Service Members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation.
Gagg is the Co-Founder of Camp Better America, a 501(c)(3) organization that helps military families reconnect after the service member returns from war. Military families come to their resort-like camps where the atmosphere is family-oriented and fun-filled. It is an opportunity for the service member and his /her families to relax, let their walls down, and reconnect with each other. At the same time, they are exposed to leading experts in the fields of mental health, financial services, emotional and physical well-being. (www.CampBetterAmerica.org)
In addition to being Co-Founder of Camp Better America, Gagg has also held the volunteer position of Executive Director of Got Your Back Network, a 501(c)(3) organization, founded by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Andrew Baldwin, M.D.,which provides opportunities and programs for surviving spouses and children of our fallen military heroes to be inspired, mentored, and equipped with the tools necessary to achieve their highest potential.
Gagg also serves as Chairman for “Project Gratitude” through GYBN, with Sharlene Hawkes (Miss America 1985), an initiative where surviving spouses and daughters of fallen military heroes travel from around the country as their VIP guests and partake in bonding activities as well as Miss America Pageant festivities. They are also honored and recognized as honorary Miss Americas through the Miss America Organization. Project Gratitude is centered on remembering the great service and ultimately the great sacrifice, but also serves as a time for these moms and daughters to bond and to leave “Project Gratitude” with a new sense of empowerment, inspiration and support!
Gagg has also recently partnered with retired Marine Colonel, John Saputo (owner and President of Gold Coast Eagle, an Anheuser Busch distributer, FL) to help launch a community initiative for Sarasota veterans. This initiative helps address the most common challenges facing veterans and their families and the solutions to help with their reintegration on a community level.
“I am beyond honored and extremely humbled to do my part in helping return the salute to our military. I did not have the courage to join the military like some my family members but God has put this enormous passion for our military and their families in my heart. We all need to recognize the great sacrifices and help return the salute to all who serve. I have an amazing business partner in Camp Better America, co –founder, Kimberly Burleson, who shares my passion for our military as well as some of the most dedicated volunteers with Got Your Back Network… it really takes a team of equally dedicated volunteers committed to make a difference. I will forever be passionate and committed to recognizing the great sacrifices that our men and women in uniform and their families make.”
The other civilians honored at the event with Gagg included musician and film director Gary Sinise; Fisher House Foundation chairman, Ken Fisher; Army prosthetist at the Center for the Intrepid, Ryan Blanck; and Deborah Tymon, senior vice president of marketing for the New York Yankees.
She and her husband, Mike, have three children, Brianne (17), Bryan (12) and Brooke (10) and reside in Sarasota, Florida.