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Courage Center Presents 2009 National Courage Award to Jordan Thomas

MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesota-based Courage Center will present Jordan Thomas with its National Courage Award on Aug. 15. The annual award recognizes an individual's contributions to the health, welfare and rehabilitation of people with disabilities. The award is being presented during the Medtronic Celebration of Courage Gala on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2009, at The Depot in Minneapolis.

"To be included in this remarkable company of prior winners is a tremendous honor," said Thomas. "I am grateful to Courage Center for this award and furthering the recognition of the Foundation and its mission to help kids in need of prosthetic devices."

Four years ago, at the age of 16, Thomas was scuba diving in the Florida Keys with his family when the boat's propeller struck him. He lost both of his legs from the calf down. After a period of therapy and rehabilitation, he returned to high school in Chattanooga, Tenn., rejoining his teammates on the golf and bowling teams for his senior year. He will soon begin his junior year at the College of Charleston.

While hospitalized after his injury, Thomas was touched by the kids he saw who would never be able to achieve their dreams because they did not have the money to continue their recovery and rehabilitation. Part of the reason, he discovered, is that the current way insurance companies pay for prosthetics and orthotics does not begin to cover the costs, especially for growing children. Thomas wanted to help these children, so with the help of his family, at just 16, set up the Jordan Thomas Foundation to raise money for disadvantaged children with traumatic injuries who needed prosthetics and orthotics.

Now, at age 20, Thomas is making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children. To date, his Foundation has raised $350,000, which is changing the lives of three children. He is also active in advocating for change in the way insurance companies cover prosthetics and orthotics. His advocacy has been instrumental in bringing the issue to national attention. New Jersey Congressman Robert Andrews has introduced the Prosthetics and Orthotics Parity bill.

In addition to the National Courage Award, this year Thomas was named Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). A recent CNN interview features Noah Parton, one of the children his Foundation is helping.

Jordan Thomas is in the Twin Cities Monday, Aug. 10 through Saturday, Aug. 15, and available for interviews.

About the National Courage Award

Since 1980, Courage Center has recognized individuals, who through either personal or professional achievements have made significant contributions to the disability community. Previous National Courage Award winners include Janet Reno, journalist John Hockenberry, Christopher Reeve and designer Michael Graves.

About Courage Center Courage Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. At Courage Center, we specialize in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experienced since birth. Founded in 1928, Minneapolis-based Courage Center offers advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. For more information visit

Contact: Sue Warner, Courage Center, 763-520-0263; cell 763-258-6889

SOURCE Courage Center
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