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“Godfather of Advocacy” Dean Rasmussen Receives The ALS Association’s 2011 Packman Award for His Commitment to Eradicating Lou Gehrig’s Disease

By: Stephanie Dufner
June 7, 2011
Dean Rasmussen (r) receives Packman award from National Board of Trustees Chair Jay Daugherty

This year’s recipient of The ALS Association’s Packman Award holds the moniker of the “Godfather of the Advocacy Department” due to his stalwart support of The ALS Association and outreach to government entities to promote awareness and funding to defeat ALS.  Aside from building relationships with people in Congress, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense, Dean Rasmussen has also generously contributed his energy and expertise to The Association’s advocacy and research efforts.

At the Celebration of Excellence Breakfast during The Association’s 2011 Advocacy Day and Public Policy Conference in May, National Board of Trustees Chair Jay Daugherty recognized Rasmussen in a speech for his myriad contributions to the organization over the past two decades. 

“I can think of no person more deserving of this award than the person we will recognize this morning,” ALS Association National Board of Trustees Chair Jay Daugherty said during the breakfast.  “Through his leadership and generous contributions, both on the National Board of Trustees and the board of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter (now known as The Golden West Chapter), The Association has realized tremendous success from waiving the 24-month Medicare waiting period to enacting the ALS Registry Act to establishing a program to advocate on the state level.”

“Fourteen years ago, Dean had a vision of involving our government to help us find a treatment and cure for ALS.  Through his leadership and generous contributions, The Association has realized tremendous success, from waiving the 24 month Medicare waiting period, to enacting the ALS Registry Act, to establishing a program to advocate on the state level.,” said Chief Public Policy Officer Steve Gibson.  “Today, thanks to Dean and our public policy victories, we have a roadmap to someday soon have a treatment and one day a cure for ALS.”

Former chairman and CEO of the Valencia, Calif.-based engineering contracting firm C.A. Rasmussen, Inc., Rasmussen began his involvement with The Association after his father, Carl Rasmussen, died from ALS in 1989 at the age of 69.  After his father’s passing, Rasmussen stated that he believed his mission in life involved him helping to find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  In his speech, Daugherty noted the following of his colleague:  “For him, ALS is personal, and all of his efforts bring more people into our fight and truly advance the goals of The Association to find a treatment and cure for ALS.”

L-R, National Board of Trustees Chair Jay Daugherty, Dean Rasmussen, ALS Association President and CEO Jane H. Gilbert.

“We are proud to present Dean Rasmussen the Packman Award for his dedication to creating a world without ALS,” says The Association’s President and CEO Jane H. Gilbert.  “His collaboration with other Association board members and government leaders as well as employees and volunteers at The Golden West Chapter shows his dedication to eradicating Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Rasmussen has held several key roles during his tenure at The Association. From 1993 - 2006, he served on the National Board of Trustees and various committees, including Finance, Community Services, Research and Advocacy.  As a board member of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter, he supported fundraising for its annual Walk to Defeat ALS® events throughout Southern California.

“Dean has played a vital role in both our chapter’s and The Association’s growth,” says The Golden West Chapter President and CEO Fred Fisher.  “His personal experience with Lou Gehrig’s Disease gives him a strong understanding of how patients and their families cope with the many challenges this disease presents.  He has translated his understanding into vision and action, particularly in the effort to communicate with political leaders on the importance of awareness and funding in the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”  Rasmussen currently serves as an advisory trustee on the chapter’s board.

The recipient of the 2011 Packman Award has received strong support for his ALS-related activities from his wife Kathleen Rasmussen, past president of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter from 2007 - 2010.  Kathleen now serves on The Golden West Chapter’s Board of Directors, and she utilizes her experience in development, marketing and public relations to raise awareness and funds for the chapter in its 31 county service area in California.  She has worked with the chapter since 2004.

The Association created the Packman Award in honor of ALS advocate Kevin Packman, who successfully went to Congress in 1992 and got that legislative body to proclaim May as ALS Awareness Month.

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