The winner of the 2022 Celebrate Freedom Award presented by Freedom Mortgage is the founder and executive director of nonprofit "10 CAN, Inc.," officials announced July 4th morning.
The founder and executive director of 10 CAN, Inc., Dr. Matthew Burke, was announced the grand-prize winner of the Celebrate Freedom Award on the morning of July 4th during the Wawa Welcome America Celebration of Freedom Ceremony presented by Freedom Mortgage at Independence Hall.
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10 CAN, Inc., or the Christian Adventure Network, is a nonprofit charitable organization designed to "save heroes, raise the next generation of warriors, and restore families through the great outdoors," according to their website.
“I’m passionate about helping others, reuniting our country and getting kids into the outdoors," Burke told the crowd after accepting his award Monday morning.
The Celebrate Freedom Award gave the opportunity for service members, veterans, first responders and health care workers to tell their story and answer the question: "What does it mean to have the freedom to serve our nation and how has your sense of duty to help others made an impact?"
Burke was being flown into Philadelphia to be recognized for his service at the ceremony on July 4th. He also received a $10,000 check from Freedom Mortgage.
Get to know the nine other amazing heroes and finalists with these excerpts from their personal submissions:
Mariana C., Georgia
"After 20 years of service in the Air Force, I became a certified alcohol and drugs counselor. Being there for someone, listening and helping them cope better with life events, find peace and happiness is an unmatched reward."
William I., Tennessee
"I am a disabled Vietnam Vet and retired truck driver. In my retirement, I found myself with plenty of time to help others with my driving experience, providing free driving support to veterans across Tennessee.
Natasha V., Florida
"As a frontline provider I saw firsthand the negative impact and mental health stress caused by COVID. I dedicated my days to breaking down barriers for socioeconomic disadvantaged patients so they could have access to mental health services."
Sean H., Georgia
"Although my wife and I have been in the Army for quite a few years, deployments can still upset the family dynamics and challenge even the strongest of relationships. My wife, and military spouses the world over, understand better than most the true cost of freedom. Their duty is what truly makes an impact."
Dawn J., Ohio
"Little did I know that COVID would come and then I would be called into another battle. Managing my own fears, praying for relief and working on fumes I could say that my only mission during the time was surviving and help others survive."
Tiffany D., California
"I have served the United States Navy proudly for over 18 years. Through the trying times of this position I can truly say that I have been impacted and been impacted by a diverse array of human beings of which I am honored to serve alongside."
Kristin L., North Carolina
"Being an Air Force Nurse, I didn't serve on the traditional battlefield, but my nursing team and I took the best care possible of those who did, past and present. I gave to my country, but in return, my country gave much to me intangibly, even shaping my practice today."
Carlos M., Virginia
"My goal and commitment to my soldiers is to provide them with the opportunities to succeed in life, both inside and outside of the military, and to make them understand that their service matters to their families and our fellow Americans."
Dietta T., Arkansas
"I retired with more than 20 years of military service. My husband retired with 20 years of law enforcement service. We are the kinds of people that run to the emergency while others run away from it."
To find out who won, tune into the Wawa Welcome America Celebration of Freedom at 10 a.m. on July 4th on the NBC10 app, NBC10.com and Telemundo62.com. You also watch the event on NBC10 at 6 p.m.