Sunday, November 16, 2014

IAVA-#HeroesGala #VetsRising Tenth Anniversary Gala

 Cipriani 42nd Street
         New York, NY

November 13, 2014



10th Anniversary Heroes Gala


Admiral Mike Mullen
17th chairman of the joint chiefs of staff


Travis Kalanick
ceo of UBER, inc.


master of ceremony
Willie Geist
NBC & MSNBC co-anchor

On right, Army veteran, veterans’ advocate, best-selling author, actor, and motivational speaker, J.R. Martinez and CEO and Co-Founder of Uber Inc., Travis Kalanick--- the 2014 IAVA Civilian Leadership Award honoree

several current military members in attendance

on left-IAVA Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Rieckhoff - welcomed guests and thanked veteran and civilian supporters. “IAVA has touched more veterans than anyone,” he said. “We are showing the world that vets are rising” (full speech here)…middle ...Nascar Driver Cale Conley-who at 22 years old -informed us he was not the youngest pro driver on the circuit (!) and patiently explained the difference between Formula One (vehicle company focused) and Nascar racing (driver focused)…on the right -TV Anchor and author- WIlliam Geist who deftly shifted between serious toasts- and comedic jokes more in keeping with a sardonic roast... 
over  700 guests- including current military members and veterans...

Attendees included: Abby Huntsman (MSNBC co-host, Admiral Mike Mullen (Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Honoree)Bob Woodruff (ABC News)Brigadier General Loree Sutton (Ret) (NYC Commissioner of Veterans Affairs), Budd Mishkin (NY1 host), Cale Conley (NASCAR driver), Chris Mortensen (ESPN journalist), Chris Wragge (CBS News anchor)David Brooks (New York Times journalist)Derek Coy (Former Marine Sergeant), Ed Shultz (MSNBC host), Greg D’Alba (IAVA Board Member),Henry Kissinger (Former Secretary of State), J.R. Martinez (Actor, Veteran’s Advocate)Jean Shafiroff (Philanthropist), Jim Hirschmann (IAVA Board Chairman), Kandace Springs (Performer)Les Gelb (IAVA Board Member), Mark and Claire RockefellerMichael Leven (IAVA Board member)Michele McDonald (Ms. New York America 2013),Michelle Monaghan (Actress)New York Attorney General Eric SchneidermanPaul Rieckhoff (IAVA Founder & CEO) and wife Lauren Hale, Rita Cosby (CBS News anchor)Ronan Farrow (MSNBC host), Rosanne Haggerty (IAVA Board Member), The Honorable Robert A. McDonald (Secretary, US Department of Veteran Affairs)Travis Kalanick (CEO of Uber, Inc.; Honoree) and partner Gabi Holzwarth, Willie Geist (NBC & MSNBC Co-Anchor; Emcee) and wife Christina Geist.

about 80lbs here-a fully loaded (less live arms we assumed)…weight of a typical deployment backpack-we got schooled by a current Army Major---who then explained-the haul gets partially unloaded…depending on the mission (mercifully)
helmet weighed plenty too

CEO and Co-Founder of Uber Inc., Travis Kalanick on left with  Gabi Holzwarth, accepted his 2014 IAVA Civilian Leadership Award for his work with the UberMILITARY program, which will on-board 50,000 members of the military community over the next 18 months, empowering them as entrepreneurs and small business owners. Kalanick thanked all veterans, saying “It is what you guys do that allows entrepreneurs like me to follow their dreams.” He said it was it was a “tremendous honor” to receive the award and to be able “empower economic freedom” amongst veterans through UberMILITARY. Full speech here.

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald (Secretary, US Department of Veteran Affairs) on left and Bill Rausch- (Political Director, IAVA) on right
MC William Geist introduced Secretary McDonald-who-in his speech-
congratulated IAVA on a successful 10 years. “IAVA’s voice is being heard,” he said. “It is influencing all that we do.” With an estimated 22 veterans committing suicide each day in America (YIKES!!!!), Secretary McDonald said it is a “top priority” to continue working closely with IAVA to combat this alarming epidemic. Listen to the full speech here.

Pictured: Admiral Mike Mullen (Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Honoree)
Former Marine Sergeant, 
Derek Coy, an ardent advocate for his fellow service members, introduced the recipient of the 2014 IAVA Veteran Leadership Award, Admiral Mike Mullen, a staunch advocate of veterans and their familieswho Paul Rieckhoff described as “one of the finest leaders of our time”.Admiral Mullen said he was accepting the award “on behalf of all veterans”.
Bonus for us - acknowledging the veterans of the Korean War…the forgotten war that a lot of our friends' fathers-fought in. And the -disconnect between the average American and veterans, including successful industry-entrepreneurial leaders of the USA-who experience cognitive dissonance once seeing first hand-how well trained, smart, task/mission focused an American solider is…and what an asset to any company-if given the opportunity.

Full speech link 
here.Sponsors who supported the event at a $25,000 level or above include Victory Motorcycles (one was auctioned one off-garnering $45,000) and Joan Ganz Cooney(Hero Sponsors); TriWest Healthcare, Turner Broadcasting, and USAA (Dinner Sponsors); Robert Cohn, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, HBO, JPMorgan Chase, Miller High Life, Uber, Western Asset Management, Wheels Up, and WME/IMG (Support Sponsors).  Special thanks was made to Southwest Airlines, IAVA’s official airline partner.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

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CODA: a point made by several speakers-Veteran's Day is everyday-not a once a year affair aka a day fro consumer blow -out sales...