PenFed President CEO James Schenck Awarded for Dedicated Support of Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities by Canine Companions for Independence

Posted June 14 2019
by Media Relations
James Schenck receiving the Hearts & Hero award from Dana Perino at CCI.

TYSONS, Va., June 14, 2019 – James Schenck, President and CEO of PenFed Credit Union, was honored yesterday evening at Canine Companions for Independence’s Hearts and Heroes Gala for his commitment to helping veterans and those with disabilities through establishment of a corporate volunteer program at PenFed in partnership with Canine Companions for Independence. Schenck received the Hearts & Heroes award, an annual award given in recognition of an individual’s extraordinary compassion for and contributions to people experiencing a disability.  

“I’m honored by this recognition, but it truly is an act of love that is core to who I am and what PenFed stands for that brings us together with Canine Companions to help make possible the transformative impact on the lives of people with disabilities – and especially the lives of our nation’s heroes,” said Schenck. “The Canine Companions team is comprised of true leaders and they inspire others to do more and have a bigger positive impact on those around them. We’re so pleased with this partnership, and look forward to deepening it in the months and years to come.” 

Dana Perino, nationally acclaimed anchor of Fox News’s The Daily Briefing and 2019 Honorary Chair of the gala introduced Schenck onstage during the event.   

Schenck described during his remarks how he has always lived life by the motto of aligning one’s purpose with passion in order to achieve incredible results. A former Army aviator, Schenck’s purpose is to lift up others and support veterans and he’s always loved and raised dogs. Two years ago, upon meeting Emmy Award-Winning journalist Andrea McCarren, he realized his destiny to combine his purpose and passion with puppies. McCarren demonstrated to Schenck her firsthand experiences and the positive impact being a puppy raiser has on the lives of others – especially veterans. 

Schenck also recognized PenFed’s first volunteer puppy raisers Lisa Jennings, First Senior Executive Vice President and Emma Phillips, University Relations and Campus Recruit Lead for their hearts of service and for living by the credit union purpose of “people helping people.” 

In addition to raising three assistance dogs in its Tysons, Virginia office, PenFed has given more than $100,000 in support of Canine Companion’s mission. PenFed’s investment helped the expansion of the organization’s Veterans Initiative – adding a new program that supports veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“PenFed has been the ideal corporate partner: supportive, creative, and dedicated. We are thrilled to present this award to James and to recognize all he and the entire PenFed team have done to help give those with disabilities the unconditional love and supportive companionship they deserve,” said Debra Dougherty, Executive Director of Canine Companions for Independence Northeast Region. “Canine Companions is extremely grateful to PenFed for its support in raising these dogs to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. We are excited to continue this partnership with a mission-driven organization like PenFed and its dedicated employees.”

The gala was held at New York City’s Apella and featured farm-to-table food from Riverpark, the restaurant of James Beard award-winning Chef Tom Colicchio. Over 160 guests attended, enjoying a one-hour cocktail reception with a silent auction, as well as a sit-down dinner. McCarren, who recently joined PenFed as Vice President of PenFed Digital and Chief Content Officer, served as master of ceremonies.

“It’s been a true joy to work with Canine Companions,” said McCarren. “I’ve volunteered for this organization several years now, and continue to be impressed by their commitment and success in helping those with disabilities regain independence. It was an honor to emcee the Hearts and Heroes Gala, and it’s an even greater honor to raise Maverick, my third assistance dog in training, as part of the PenFed family.”

About PenFed Credit Union

Established in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is America’s second-largest federal credit union, serving 1.7 million members worldwide with $25 billion in assets. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading certificates, checking, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and a wide range of other financial services with members’ interests always in mind. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

About Canine Companions for Independence®

Canine Companions for Independence® provides expertly trained assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities. Established in 1975 in California, Canine Companions is the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs in the United States. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between people and dogs. There is no charge for the dog, its training and on-going follow-up services. For more information, visit or call 1-800-572-BARK.