May 1, 2009

"Red, White and Blue Salute to Special Operations Forces" Big Success

Tampa Dinner Honors SOF Troops and their Families

Some 400 military personnel, active and retired, civic leaders and corporate sponsors joined the Special Operations Warrior Foundation at Tampa's A La Carte Event Pavilion for a special "Red, White and Blue Salute to Special Operations Forces" honoring Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel and their families. Above: SOWF graduate, Taniya Wright tells the audience about how she and her sister were able to attend college thanks to the generosity of those who support the foundation.

Hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Dick Crippen, the program included entertainment from former U.S. Army Ranger-turned country music singing star Keni Thomas (see video clip of Keni performing one of his songs) and a keynote speech from Commander, United States Special Operations Command, Adm. Eric Olson.

The evening's highlight was when Adm. Olson introduced Navy Lieutenant Jason Redman. Lieutenant Redman was critically wounded in 2007 while in battle with Iraqi insurgents, but refused to allow his wounds control his situation and those around him. He wrote a message that was posted outside his hospital room door that let those who were about to enter "... if you are coming into this room to feel sorry for my wounds, go elsewhere. The wounded I received, I got in a job that I love, doing it for the people I love, supporting the freedom of the country I deeply love. I am incredibly tough and will make a full recovery..." See a photo of the sign online

The memorable evening ended with Taniya Wright, daughter of Staff Sgt. James Wright, a Special Forces soldier who lost his life in a training accident in 1987, talking about the father she lost and how it changed her family's lives forever.

Taniya graduated from the University of South Florida in 2006 and is currently working at WFLA-TV Channel 8 in Tampa, FL.

Special Thanks to Eagle Level, Warrior Level and Patriot Level Event Sponsors:
Cochise Consultancy
Pinch A Penny
Tom Arthur
James MacDougald Family
AUSA Suncoast Chapter
Lockheed Martin

Also a special thanks to Outback Steakhouse and the A La Carte for their generosity.
Freedom Level sponsors included:
Bailey Family Foundation
Booz Allen Hamilton
Harrod Properties, Inc.
Jacobs Technology Inc.
New York Yankees

Spirit Level Sponsors included:
Dick and Lea Beard
Grady-White Boats
L-3 Enterprise IT Solutions
Northrop Grumman
W. T. (Tommy ) Morgan
Sierra Foundation, Inc.
Special Applications Group
Sykes Enterprises, Incorporated
WinTec Arrowmaker

See some of the photos from the event online...

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