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American Institute for Stuttering Honors Arthur Blank -- Co-Founder of The Home Depot and Atlanta Falcons Owner and Actor Colin Firth

June 8, 2011 - NEW YORK, NY

Last night actress Emily Blunt hosted the 5th annual American Institute for Stuttering ("AIS") Benefit Gala at The Tribeca Rooftop where Arthur Blank, Co-Founder of The Home Depot and Owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, was presented with the Freeing Voices Changing Lives Award. It was a heartfelt presentation as a Home Depot employee who also stutters, and who has long admired Arthur, surprised him on stage. Colin Firth received an award in absentia for his amazing contribution to stuttering with his Oscar winning performance as King George VI in The King's Speech. Colin taped a gracious thank you for the audience from his film set in London.

The Ballroom was filled with past award honorees and friends of AIS that included communications strategist Michael Sheehan, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Clarence Page, Sir Harold Evans, Tina Brown and Sam Waterston. A few surprise guests included Ken Langone, who co-founded The Home Depot with Arthur Blank, and actor Matt Damon. Vice President Joseph Biden, a longtime supporter and friend to AIS, sent a poignant video in recognition of the Institute's work. It was a moving tribute and a highlight of the evening.

The Gala affords American Institute for Stuttering the opportunity to acknowledge achievements of the past year and honor individuals who have overcome stuttering and gone on to great success professionally and personally.

About American Institute for Stuttering (AIS):
AIS was founded in 1998 by Catherine Montgomery (1951-2010), who was an internationally recognized speech-language pathologist with 30 years of experience dedicated exclusively to the study and treatment of stuttering. AIS is the only non-profit organization in the United States that offers specialized speech therapy to people who stutter of all ages, and guidance to their families. AIS provides much needed clinical training in stuttering to speech-language pathologists and students. The mission extends to advance public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.

Available for Media Interviews -- Chamonix Sikora, Executive Director of the American Institute for Stuttering, 212-633-6400

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Christine Madden


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