Citing the organization's decade-long involvement in providing fishing opportunities for Americans with disabilities, the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) presented BASS with its Corporate Leadership Award.
BASS Vice President and General Manager Tom Ricks accepted the award during the 2008 American Gala Thursday evening in Washington, D.C.
"The partnership we have created is based on a common ground," said Ricks in accepting the award. "The missions of PVA and BASS and ESPN align rather closely. The PVA focuses on the enrichment of sports and recreation for paralyzed veterans, and both BASS and ESPN, to a broader audience, look to do the same."
For more than 10 years, BASS has partnered with the PVA to conduct bass fishing tournaments in which paralyzed veterans and other Americans with disabilities can compete. To date, nearly 3,000 anglers with disabilities have taken part in 44 tournaments, including some that qualify fishermen for the prestigious Bassmaster Classic.
With the assistance of BASS officials and members of affiliated bass clubs in the BASS Federation Nation, the PVA hosts a tournament trail with a season-long points race. The winner of the points race advances to the BASS Federation National Championship, to be held Nov. 6-8 on Milford Lake out of Junction City, Kan. The top anglers in each of six geographic divisions, including one in which the PVA angler competes, receive berths in next year's Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport-Bossier City, La., Feb. 20-22.
PVA tournaments are covered in BASS media, including BASS Times, Bassmaster Magazine and Bassmaster.com.
Founded in 1946, Paralyzed Veterans of America advocates quality healthcare and ample retirement benefits for armed forces veterans who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction. Its 2008 American Gala focused on the enrichment of sports and recreation for Paralyzed Veterans and other individuals with disabilities in expanding their quality of life.
Also receiving awards from the organization were Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a highly decorated veteran who received the 2008 Congressional Award for his support of PVA initiatives and issues; U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, the Public Service Award; and HOK Sport, the Sport and Design Leadership Award.
NASCAR great Kyle Petty served as master of ceremonies for the event.
For more information on the PVA, visit their Web site.