The silent auction glittered with elegant and exciting offerings while gala-goers mingled, sipped and nibbled exquisite hors oeuvres. As the cocktail hour wound down, this reporter spoke to Linda Mathes, CEO, and American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. Her ebullience was contagious and she beamed proudly at the beautiful reds and blues that greeted us as we walked into the ballroom.
“I am so proud to be here, this is such a rewarding occasion for all of us connected to the Red Cross,” said Mathes.
“We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for us and our country.”
Denyce Graves electrified the audience with her version of the National Anthem, her voice resonated within the bodies of all audiences members.
Jimmy Smits, film, television and stage Emmy Award and Golden Globe winning actor, brought his brand of gentlemanly charm to the stage, introducing and recognizing the distinguished and deserving men and women of America’s armed services.
“I am deeply honored to be here in the presence of these service men and women who have held the freedoms that we cherish in their hands and protected our country with their bravery and integrity,” said Smits, appearing visibly moved at the podium.
Smits and military hero Colonel Gregory Gadson presented special award to members of the military including Tiffany Circle Distinguished Woman Warrior to Danielle Green-Byrd, a former Notre Dame basketball player who lost her lower left arm and hand when serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq.
Other awards went to Leiutenant Heather Penney for her bravery during attacks on Septemeber 11; Special Wounded Warrior Awards to: Staff Sergeant Robert William Laux, Army; Maritime Enforcement Specialist Second Class Nathan Thompson, Coast Guard; Corporal Eamon D. Turnbull; Major James R. Nolan, Air Force and HM3 Nikolaus Oekerman, Navy.
Kay Kapoor, Managing Director and Chief Executive, Accenture Federal Services, chaired the event. Accenture was the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala. Other gala sponsors included BAE Systems, Inc., and Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon.