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DOT 17-10Contact: Doug Hecox
Wednesday, January 27, 2010Phone: 202-366-0660

President Obama Invites Colorado 'Wounded Warrior' to State of the Union Address
Federal Highway Administration's Scott Vycital to Sit With First Lady Michelle Obama

WASHINGTON - President Obama invited Scott Vycital, a Federal Highway Administration employee who is a wounded Army veteran and advocate for federal veterans-to-work programs, to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama during the President's first State of the Union Address tonight.

"Scott is a hero and an ideal ambassador for the Wounded Warriors program," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "He is a stellar example of the many people we have at DOT and throughout the government who are dedicated to serving others."

Vycital served as a specialist in the Army's 82nd Airborne. In 2004, while stationed in Iraq, he was the victim of enemy fire and lost the hearing in his right ear. He retired from the Army later that year and, using vocational rehabilitation from the Veterans Administration and other veterans benefits, he enrolled at Colorado State University and studied accounting.

After graduating in 2008, Vycital was helped by the Army's Wounded Warrior program - which serves severely wounded, injured or ill soldiers and their families and the National Organization on Disabilities - to meet potential employers, including the Federal Highway Administration.

Last March, the FHWA hired him as a financial specialist in Lakewood, Colo., to manage funds used for highways on federal and tribal lands. Since then, that office has hired two more Wounded Warriors. Vycital lives in Fort Collins.

"Our Wounded Warriors are doing great work," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "All of us at the FHWA are thankful for Scott's service to the nation, and we share his pride in being recognized by the President."

Vycital exemplifies the thousands of wounded veterans who can enrich the federal workforce, a primary reason for the President's Executive Order signed Nov. 9, 2009. The order established the Veterans Employment Initiative, and it underscores to federal agencies the importance of recruiting and employing veterans and assisting transitioning service members seeking federal employment.

Though he and his wife Jarah are busy with two small children, Vycital ran a marathon last fall and remains an active advocate for the Wounded Warriors program.

"The Wounded Warriors program is helping thousands of others just like it helped me," said Vycital. "I want to make sure other veterans have the same opportunities I have had."

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