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American hero

Posted on January 9, 2017

Wheaton alumna Jennifer Field ’00 will be honored as an American hero at the 2017 All American Inaugural Ball on January 19, sharing the stage with astronaut Buzz Aldrin and nine other distinguished citizens.

Field is founder and president of The J Field Foundation, which raises funds to help people with brain injuries access alternative therapies. The foundation also recently partnered with the Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services of Connecticut to provide healing therapeutic services to veterans.

The field of brain health and research is one of the areas of focus for the 2017 All American Inaugural Ball, according to the ball website.

Field and her peers are being honored with a 2017 All American Hero award for their “outstanding and tireless work” in civic service at the Washington, D.C., event, which celebrates the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. Aldrin will receive the All American Hero Lifetime Achievement Award.

According to a summary of her accomplishments on the ball website: “Jennifer Field exemplifies the character of a hero. She worked tirelessly and relentlessly for years to overcome her own challenges, and then made her life’s work all about helping others to do the same.”

Field was seventeen years old when she was involved in a near fatal car accident that left her in a coma and with severe brain damage. She spent a decade undergoing numerous therapies and treatments, many not covered by insurance, to regain her physical independence. She graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton in 2000 with a major in art history.

Field recently published a book about her experience. From Blue Ribbon To Code Blue: A Girl’s Courage, Her Mother’s Love, A Miracle Recovery was released in October 2016 through Baughan Publishing LLC.

Professor of Art History Evelyn Staudinger, who was one of Field's mentors at Wheaton and remains a friend, discusses in the book Field's determination throughout her recovery and as she worked toward her degree at Wheaton.

"Jen lives beautifully in the present. When things in my life are difficult, I always think about how she created a new world for herself—with emphasis on the word 'created,'" Staudinger said. "And she has not only made herself a better person, but others become better for having known her."

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