Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky and US Sailing, along with consumers nationwide, have chosen the recipients of the 2014 Maritime Heroes Award. This year’s winners, Richard Ramos and Aleef Mahmud of Medford, Massachusetts, will be honored at a gala event on January 22, 2015 at the US Sailing National Sailing Programs Symposium in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Richard Ramos never thought he would sail again following a diving accident that left him with a disabling spinal cord injury. After meeting Aleef, an engineer from RIT through Community Boating, INC., the two created an apparatus that would allow Richard and others with similar injuries to pursue their marine passions. “The technology that Aleef and I constructed gave me the opportunity to sail once again after years without being able. I hope that it has inspired those who suffer from similar disabilities that anything is possible. I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to Old Pulteney and US Sailing for sponsoring this prestigious award,” said Richard.

Aleef shared the same enthusiasm as his partner: “I am overjoyed to hear that Richard and I have been named the 2014 Maritime Heroes. This new adaptive sailing system will allow paralyzed and injured members of our community to sail once again. The system, which works via a secured seat mounted on a circular track to allow rotation, will allow the user to control the tiller of the boat through a bi-directional crank and series of lines that is controlled by the sailor.”

“What Richard and Aleef have accomplished embodies our definition of the 2014 Maritime Hero. They have restored hope in the lives of many sailing enthusiasts and we are honored to present them with the award for their outstanding contributions,” said Pat Graney, President of International Beverage.

Old Pulteney, the official Scotch whisky of US Sailing, is known as the “Maritime Malt”. The distillery is located in Wick, Scotland and is one of the northernmost distilleries on the Scottish mainland. The whisky matures in hand-selected oak casks and is said to contain characteristics of the seafaring region that it hails from.

International Beverage, Inc. (www.interbevgroup.com) was established in 2005 as the international arm of ThaiBev, one of South East Asia’s leading alcohol beverage companies. With a network of regional offices in Asia, Europe and North America, the company is responsible for the production, sales, marketing and distribution of a portfolio of premium global brands in more than 80 countries and territories. The company’s success is built on a strong understanding of local cultures and markets along with the creation of a global operational network.

The United States Sailing Association (US Sailing), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership, integrity, and growth for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US Sailing is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US Sailing offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.