U.S. Rep. McSally Honors Arizona Veterans of Distinction at 3rd Annual Awards Ceremony
TUCSON –During a ceremony for Southern Arizona veterans, U.S. Representative Martha McSally today announced the 2017 Congressional Veteran of Distinction: Air Force veteran Stuart S. Carter. Mr. Carter was selected from nominations from throughout Southern Arizona by a local panel of veterans and other community members. A Sierra Vista resident who has dedicated himself to service, he was recognized for his work helping handicapped veterans through VeloVets, a program he founded.
“Many of us know that our service members display courage and bravery on the battlefield—but as this award shows, there are countless veterans who continue to demonstrate valor when they return home to their communities,” said Rep. McSally. “We have many unsung heroes in our midst, and that’s why we created this award in 2015: to shine a spotlight on these inspiring men and women. Stuart Carter is one such local hero. His work helping disabled veterans through VeloVets is only one example of the many ways he dedicates himself to serving others in his community. Now it’s our turn to applaud him for his lasting impact.”
Stuart Carter, known as “Stu,” served in the United States Air Force, rising from the rank of Airman Basic in 1971 to Lieutenant Colonel before retiring from active duty in 2001. In addition to garnering accolades for his time in combat (which included serving in Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia), Stu continues to make a lasting impact in his home of Sierra Vista.
Although himself 70% disabled, Stu is a tireless athlete dedicated to helping other handicapped veterans build self-esteem and fitness. After founding and directing the 130-member US Air Force Cycling Team, Stu founded VeloVets to share his love of and experience in cycling to help other veterans to help them improve their health and well-being. Stu designs and modifies bikes for handicapped veterans who cannot ride a traditional bike.
Rep. McSally also recognized two runners up. Runner up Mike Ramsey retired from the US Air Force as a Senior Master Sergeant in 2007 after a 25-year career, attaining the designation of 1st Sergeant. He has participated in an average of over 100 outreach events per year for the last 5 years and enrolled almost 1300 new Veterans for VA benefits during that time.
Runner up Bob Graham served in the Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson from 1971 to 2007. Since retiring he has dedicated himself to serving other veterans, including co-developing one of the first Veterans Court in the Tucson area to better address the unique rehabilitative needs of veterans who encounter problems in the justice system. By becoming a Veteran Program Manager for the US Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant, Bob helps provide supportive services and rapid re-housing for homeless veterans and their families.
Since the award began in 2015, Rep. McSally has recognized more than forty outstanding veterans in Southern Arizona with the Veterans of Distinction accolade. This year the tradition continues. Twenty veterans were nominated for this award.