4th Annual Heroes Gala
The week was a little hectic around the IAVA office as they prepped for the biggest days of the year, the Heroes Gala and Veteran’s Day. An overwhelming sense of anxiousness filled the place if only for the need to make this Veteran’s week a hit. The tireless efforts of the real people behind these amazing events in both NYC and in 7 other cities throughout the US, is a testament in itself to the dedication veterans and this organization have. Im not preaching, Im just stating fact.
Late last Friday night I was invited to join sit at the Joseph Abboud table for the 4th Annual Heroes Gala. What an amazing opportunity, BUT I still didnt have a suit for fancy occasions. This proved to be a problem all weekend until finally on Monday I purchased 2 suits and had them rush tailored for Wed. Man was it worth the money and the stress to get this suit ready. The Heroes Gala on Wednesday night was out of this world. Gotham Hall in NYC is this incredible ornate marble cathedral of a place that used to be a bank back in the day. If you ever get a chance to attend something here or at least walk through, you should. Its like stepping back in time or being in a place of royalty. 40 tables dotted the space with these glittering chandeliers flowing from the ceilings and glinting about the hall. NBC’s Brian Williams MC’d the night and was an amazing speaker filled with such worldly knowledge and good for a couple jabs at our great city’s “5 foot 8 inches of twisted metal” Mayor Bloomberg. That’s a direct quote from Brian Williams and is in no way meant to slander this man. Take it down a notch.Along side Mr Williams was Super Bowl Champion Bill Cowher, former coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Together the two awarded David Gelbaum and Wes Moore. If you dont know these people, you should. David Gelbaum is responsible for pumping new life into struggling veteran’s groups with a donation of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars!! I had to right it out in words, but here it is in digits…$250,000,000 to revitalize veteran’s groups. Every person in the military should know his name and should thank him for his dedication to us. Wes Moore is going to be in Congress one day and to be honest he may reach higher than that. He was being honored for his veteran leadership and drive to help military personnel. Click on his name to see just some of his work and especially his book, “The Other Wes Moore.”
Tireak, Jon, Florian, and I (the other vets used in the Abboud/JCP campaign) were lucky enough to sit at the Joseph Abboud table for the evening and talk about all things IAVA, JCPenney, Abboud, and IAVA. Just so everyone knows, the argyle half zip I rock in the JCP ads is a top seller AND so is the man purse that I had to rock for the first part of the video. I might have made up the latter part of that statement, but I need to grab back some street cred. Everyone at the table looked amazing and we had such a blast talking and embracing this amazing night.
Yet one more thing that IAVA has allowed me to be a part of. I dont think I can get enough of these types of perks…and to top it all off, we raised some serious money that night. Not sure of the total yet, but HealthNet (a sponsor of the night) signed a check for another $25,000 on the spot during the silent auction. Yet another group of incredible people that are supporting our warfighter as they return to the United States.From the gala to the after-party at the Galway Hooker (#1, its a real place and #2, its a nice bar, not what you might think by its name). Most of the crew from IAVA showed up, the Marines celebrated the Corps’ birthday by reading an absurdly long write up, and Mr. Bill Cowher showed up (as evidenced by this photo). Another group of amazing people showed up as well, the Googlers! Googlers are the bright minds and creatives of Google who were the underwriting sponsor for the night. In fact the first person I met that night was a sister to the amazing women who founded Google’s Veteran’s Network, Carrie. We got a chance to exchange stories about the event, hopes for the next day, and a couple adult beverages. I made it home around 0300 and needed to be back at the Flatiron Building by 0800…Ill sleep when I die.