Outstanding Service Award

The heartbeat of Triumph Foundation is found in people who face life’s challenges head on and help others do the same. We celebrate leaders whose contributions give others the opportunity to thrive. The Outstanding Service Award is presented by the Board of Triumph Foundation to recognize and honor leaders who are committed to helping people triumph over paralysis.

Recipients are individuals whose contributions create opportunity for those affected by paralysis to progress in their physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Whether through science, medicine, engineering, politics, clergy, the arts, or other disciplines, Triumph’s Outstanding Service Award honorees provide hope for children, adults, and Veterans living with disability. Qualification includes true stories of improving quality of life and having inspired hope to people with disabilities which help to illustrate the award recipient's contribution.

Triumph’s Outstanding Service Award is presented annually at our Let’Em Roll Fundraiser.

2022 - Dr. Steve Heimberg

Dr. Steve Heimberg began his career as a physician, but when his medical work drew him into fascinating medical-legal and bioethical issues, he decided to pursue a legal degree at UCLA School of Law.

For the first several years of his legal career, Dr. Heimberg worked on numerous medically-related issues of national interest, working as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health. Over the past quarter century, Dr. Heimberg and his firm, Heimberg Barr, LLP, have advocated for persons catastrophically injured by the wrongdoing of others, receiving the highest ratings for both legal and ethical standards.

As a faithful supporter of Triumph Foundation, Dr. Heimberg believes strongly in our mission as part of his mission to help people who are helpless. “I can help people win their important legal battles, but Triumph makes their quality of life a reality.”

Like so many of our allies, Dr. Heimberg is passionate about helping beyond financial support. He refers his clients to join our community, volunteers with his family, and has even volunteered his entire staff to help create vital Triumph events. He developed the “First 90 Days” book - one of the core assets in Triumph’s Care Paks - to empower newly-injured people to thrive.


Dr. Sarah Brindle received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and is a California-licensed psychologist, having practiced in southern California for over 14 years. She completed her clinical internship at the VA Long Beach Healthcare system and post-doctoral fellowship at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital, focusing in rehabilitation psychology and working with individuals with physical disabilities and chronic health problems. She has provided inpatient and outpatient psychological services to paralyzed veterans at the Long Beach VA Healthcare System in the Spinal Cord Injury Service for 13 years.

Dr. Brindle has presented nationally at professional meetings of the American Psychological Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the California Psychological Association, as well as through various local community organizations. Her published work has appeared in several professional journals and books on topics related to women’s health issues, veteran’s mental health issues, positive sexual expression across the lifespan and for people with disabilities, religion and spirituality in people with disabilities, and various psychological issues affecting people with SCI.

In 2011 she created the SCI Peer Mentor Program at the Long Beach VA, specifically designed for newly injured Veterans receiving inpatient rehabilitation. Through this program, she facilitates a monthly social hour with invited Veteran speakers sharing their injury experiences as well as community disability organizations presenting information about their programs. She also facilitates a weekly support group for newly injured Veterans, with monthly visits from Triumph ambassadors. For the past several years, she has facilitated a spirituality support group that provides spiritual community and discussion for SCI Veterans and addresses the unique intersection of spirituality and disability.  More recently, in pursuit of her interest in the mind-body connection, she became certified as a yoga instructor, with specialized training in adapting yoga for people with disabilities. In addition to her psychology work at the VA, she has been teaching 2 different adaptive yoga classes at the VA for the past year.

Sarah and her son Mark have been a volunteering with Triumph Foundation since he was just 5, and eight years later, it is a cause dear to them both. They are important members of our #TriumphFamily.


Triumph Foundation was proud to present the 2018 Outstanding Service Award to Dr. Thomas Hedge, MD. With a career spanning more than 40 years, Dr. Hedge has made a tremendous impact on our paralysis community as a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialist and Medical Director based at Northridge Hospital. The award will be presented at the Foundation’s annual Let'em Roll Fundraiser on July 28, 2018.

Dr. Hedge is a graduate of the University of Riverside and the University of Southern California Medical School.

In 1982, he contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease of the peripheral nervous system. Two years later, he returned to work as a wheelchair user, determined to continue his work and passion in spite of the disability.

In his practice, perseverance and dedication to his wife of over 40 years, Cyd, and their children Erin, Eric, Emily and Evan, Dr. Hedge embodies the mission and values of Triumph Foundation.

2017 - DR. ANN T. VASILE

Dr. Ann Vasile is beloved by so many in the spinal cord injury community, we were proud to select her as the first recipient of Triumph's Outstanding Service Award!

With more than 28 years of experience, she is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and holds a second specialty board certification in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine and is widely hailed as a leader in this field.

Triumph recognized Dr. Vasile for her outstanding work, leadership, and active involvement in the field of rehabilitation, research, advocacy and innovative interventions to improve function and quality of life for patients who have sustained spinal cord injuries.