ALTAVISTA, Va. (WFXR) – Virginia’s First Lady, Suzanne S. Youngkin, was joined by Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Monday in Altavista and announced the first-ever Spirit of Virginia Award, which recognizes unique qualities and standout achievements across the Commonwealth.

The award highlights Virginians for their uncommon contributions in private industries, education, culture, and the arts and philanthropy.

The National Center for Healthy Veterans (NCHV) was the recipient of the inaugural award.

The non-profit is working to renovate its Valor Farms village by adding a community center, family lodge, and wellness center that will house physical therapy and counseling sessions.

The organization is a comprehensive, scalable solution and unique strategic initiative of national impact with a mission of “Returning Healthy Veterans to America.”

“I cannot think of a mission more deserving of the Spirit of Virginia Award. The organization successfully combines healing, hard work and a home for veterans who need it most. It also serves as an inspiring vision for how a scenic farm in Virginia can contribute to veteran wellbeing and long-term success.”

Suzanne Youngkin, Virginia’s First Lady

During his speech, Gov. Youngkin announced that he plans to exclude up to $40,000 of veterans benefits taxes, saying, “We’re working with the legislature to get budget amendments so that we can have more resources that go to support our veterans. This is just the beginning. We want our veterans to start businesses here. We want them to have careers here. We want them to have their lives here.”

He added that in the future, he’d like to see NCHV house and employ 100 veterans at a time at Valor Farm. Currently, they have four houses in the village and volunteers are in the process of building four more, expected to be finished this summer.

NCHV Board President Major Bob Dees credits the staff and its nearly 500 volunteers for receiving the award from the Youngkins.

“All of our volunteers are part of that award. Our great staff is part of that award so were just humbled that these people, this collective effort have been recognized by the governor and his first lady,” said Dees.

Five additional award recipients will be announced throughout the year.