Annual Awards Dinner

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20th Annual VITA Achievement Awards Dinner

A Celebration of Wireless Life

The VITA Achievement Awards Dinner celebrates the many ways in which wireless is enhancing consumers’ lives in the areas of health, education, environmental sustainability and children’s wireless safety. On Monday, May 19th, The Wireless Foundation celebrated the event's 20th anniversary, a unique opportunity to revisit The Foundation's history and acknowledge those who played a significant part in its creation.  In keeping with tradition, the Foundation honored everyday people who used wireless technology to avert danger or save a life, as well as individuals and organizations using wireless to improve their communities.

Leadership Honoree: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
From 1992 to 2004, Chairman Wheeler served as President and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association. During this time, Chairman Wheeler was instrumental in the formation of The Wireless Foundation’s inaugural programs and initiatives. Over the years, Chairman Wheeler has shown himself to be a champion of the wireless industry’s philanthropic efforts and a steadfast ambassador for wireless as a tool for improving and saving lives.

Health Honoree: Scripps Health, accepted by Steven Steinhubl, M.D. Medical Director for Digital Medicine
Scripps Health has been a leader in promoting the use of wireless technology to improve healthcare delivery to its patients while lowering medical costs. Research efforts are led by the Scripps Translational Science Institute through clinical trials of wireless devices and apps. On the clinical side, Scripps deployed a universal medical-grade wireless architecture across its five hospital campuses and 26 outpatient centers and clinics.

Green Honoree: Sprint, accepted by Dan Hesse, CEO
Long recognized as one of the greenest companies in the U.S., Sprint has led the wireless industry in both recycling retired wireless devices and reducing carbon emissions across business operations. In 2013, Sprint worked with vendors to reduce their CO2 emissions and set the Guinness World Record for Most Cellphones Recycled in One Week.

Education Honoree: Oregon Department of Education, accepted by Steve Nelson, Chief IT Strategist
The Oregon Department of Education is a pioneer in employing cellphones in classrooms to increase student engagement and access to information. While some schools still ban cellphones, Oregon is working with Portland startup Celly on a state-wide program that allows teachers and students to create customized social networks, drive class discussions and manage assignments via text message.

Children’s Wireless Safety Honoree: Cyberbullying Research Center, accepted by Justin Patchin, Ph.D., Co-Director
As a part of their mission to understand and prevent online bullying, the Cyberbullying Research Center directly targets schools and community groups and serve as a resource for families. Together, co-directors Dr. Hinduja and Dr. Patchin wrote four books and numerous articles in professional and academic publications and presented internationally to more than 100,000 educators on the topics of cyberbullying and other forms of teen technology misuse.

Wireless Hero Awards:


Paul Hinerman & Angie Puhac, Pittsburgh, PA
Paul and his fiancée Angie immediately dialed 911 when they saw a home engulfed in flames. Before emergency personnel arrived, Paul kicked in the door and pulled an elderly blind man out of the home. Unfortunately, the man’s home was condemned and a neighboring home damaged, but no one was hurt thanks to Angie’s phone call and Paul’s bravery.

David Jensen, Grand Forks, ND
Shortly after David stopped his car on the side of the road to send a text message, a car veered across the road and struck his parked vehicle head on. David called his father, the fire chief of a nearby town, and told him to get help. David pried open her car’s door and safely removed the woman from her burning vehicle. The driver faces drunk driving charges and a difficult recovery, but is alive today because of David.

Aryanna Lynch, Weymouth, MA
Three-year-old Aryanna was home with her younger sister when her pregnant mother, Tiffany, collapsed to the floor. Unlocking her mom's wireless phone, she recognized the picture of a relative and called and left a message, “Auntie, call me. Mommy’s not waking up. I need you.” Tiffany’s cousin called 911 and paramedics were dispatched to their home.

NaToshya Reed, Killeen, TX
NaToshya suffered an asthma attack while driving with her young daughter. Dangerously short of breath and unable to speak, she called her mother on her wireless phone while simultaneously pressing the OnStar button in her vehicle. NaToshya’s mother realized her daughter was having an asthma attack and couldn’t speak, so she spoke to the emergency dispatcher on NaToshya’s behalf.

Nora Stephens, Watkinsville, GA
Home sick from school, Nora was alone when burglars broke into her family’s house. Afraid to search the house for her personal cellphone, she remembered deactivated cellphones can still call 911. She quietly found one nearby and dialed 911 to dispatch the police.