Sometimes I need to pinch myself and Friday night was one of those nights. I attended internationally celebrated tenor Anthony Kearns’ (as in one of the original Irish Tenors) Kick Off to the Memorial Day Weekend evening with WTOP’s “Man About Town” Bob Madigan emceeing. The event honored the defense community and those who served and was organized by Kirsten Fedewa & Assoc, LLC.
It was held in the lush Eisenhower Room of The Capitol Hill Club which held hundreds of elephant sculptures. The event supported The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to help severely-wounded veterans and families of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom recover from their injuries and illnesses, and to inspire other organizations and the general public to participate in this effort. David Walker, the Coalition’s president, gave an impassioned speech about the help our veterans’ need.
Key Programs of The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes are:
1. Emergency Financial Aid: Provides severely wounded veterans and their families financial aid to help through crisis situations such as evictions, car repossessions, utility cut-offs, empty refrigerators and food shelves.
2. Road to Recovery Conference and Tribute: It is a four day educational and motivational event for wounded veterans and their families designed to prepare them for the challenges in their lives that lay ahead. This is an all-expense paid event.
3. Gift Checks: Working in partnership with The American Legion and other organizations, the Coalition distributes thousands of gift checks to wounded veterans and their families to help them pay for family meals during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter holiday seasons.
Mr. Matthew J. Cary, of the DC Office of Veterans Affairs of the DC Mayor’s Office, shared how they are working to combat veterans’ homelessness with new apartments, donating furniture and other items.
Guests enjoyed drinks, yummy appetizers like bruschetta, salmon, chicken, Buzz Bakery mini cupcakes, tea, coffee and cookies.
Kearns mesmerized the crowd with his mellifluous singing, accompanied by DC local piano player Andy Luce. Kearns revealed he recently sang at a ceremony honoring our Medal of Honor recipients. Kearns also was singing for the Memorial Day Parade. Kearns said he was always singing as a child, but he was also professionally trained. He was amenable and accessible to talk with after his performance.
Kearns sang two sets. Some of the songs he sang included:
“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from the musical “Les Miserables”
“Ave Maria” for those in our military who gave the ultimate sacrifice. He sent chills down my spine.
“Danny Boy,” the requisite favorite.
“God Bless America” with the audience as we stood up.
It was an intimate crowd filled with military, veterans, and veterans supporters. One of the audience members was a man who served in Vietnam who has a traumatic brain injury. He overcame that to become a psychologist and works to help other wounded military at Walter Reed. He helps with the West Point Wounded Warrior Program.
What a memorable night honoring and helping our wounded veterans.