U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Public Affairs Office
810 Schreider Street
Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5000
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
For Immediate Release – June 30, 2009
(Fort Detrick, Md.) – Col. Donald Gray Heppner Jr. M.D., deputy commander of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, was recently honored by Kiwanis International for his critical role in the development of a promising vaccine against malaria.
Heppner was presented with the 2009 World Service Medal.
The Kiwanis World Service Medal, established in 1985, recognizes individuals who devote a significant part of their lives to meeting the needs of others. One medal is awarded each year and the Kiwanis International Foundation adds a $10,000 grant to assist the honoree in furthering their effort. Previous winners include Mother Teresa, Sir Roger Moore, Audrey Hepburn, Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter.
On receiving notification of the award, Heppner was deeply moved. "I had welcomed my Lynchburg, Virginia hometown nomination, but never, ever anticipated one of the world's preeminent charities for children would recognize the importance of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research's efforts to fight malaria. I hope this Kiwanis award will inspire thousands more to join the fight." Heppner said he would donate the $10,000 grant to a Kiwanis school in Africa that helps children and families hit hard by malaria.
Malaria is one of the most devastating diseases of children around the world. This severe and incapacitating disease is a global problem which is estimated to lead to 350-500 million episodes of malaria and anywhere from 1 to 3 million deaths worldwide, mostly children. Today, at least half of the world's population or 3.3 billion people are at risk of malaria.
The good news is WRAIR is on the cutting-edge of a vaccine to prevent infection in both the warfighter, and children who are exposed to the deadly parasite. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's WRAIR is dedicated to finding a cure for malaria.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is the Army's medical materiel developer, with lead agency responsibility for medical research, development and acquisition, medical logistics management, medical information management/information technology and medical health facility planning.
The mission of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is to conduct biomedical research that is responsive to DOD and U.S. Army requirements and delivers life saving products including knowledge, technology, and medical materiel that sustain the combat effectiveness of the warfighter.