ARLINGTON, VA, April 04, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro) hosted its 32nd Annual Awards Dinner last night at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Crystal City. The evening focused on Celebrating Our Moments Together and was devoted to honoring outstanding individuals from each branch of service, as well as the exceptional people who support our nation's service members and their families. Attended by senior government and military leaders, celebrities, business and community leaders, over 600 guests joined with USO-Metro last night to honor our nation's heroes and their families. The Boeing Company served as the evening's presenting sponsor and the sold-out gala raised $685,000 for USO-Metro, once more exceeding expectations.
This year's dinner celebrated the opening of the USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda, which opens with its official ribbon cutting ceremony on April 1. This state-of-the-art USO Center will provide a "home-away-from-home" for the nation's wounded, ill and injured active duty service members and Reserve and National Guard troops, as well as their families and caregivers. During the event, attendees looked back at the incredible heroes USO-Metro has served and the many accomplishments of USO-Metro since the first injured service members began arriving at local military hospitals when the war began in 2001.
During the event, Chef Robert Irvine was honored with the USO-Metro Merit Award, presented by Gary Sinise; The American Military Spouses Choir received the Legacy of Hope Award, and the Next Generation of Hope Award went to music prodigy Ethan Bortnick. This year's Colonel John Gioia Patriot Award was presented to Don Blanchard, the father of fallen Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard (USA). Don teamed up with USO to create A Father's Tribute Ride, during which he rode his motorcycle to all four corners of the country, honoring his son and raising money to help military nonprofit organizations.
Elaine Rogers, president of USO-Metro, noted, "As we pay tribute to our service members, we are reminded of the extreme sacrifices military families make to ensure our freedom and security. We are proud to provide services and programs that show them they are supported and appreciated and we are thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of the new USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda. The new facility, located at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda, home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, will be a place of respite and recreation, providing a peaceful environment to bring families together and an opportunity to prepare for a happy and fulfilling life ahead."
Funds raised at the awards dinner will be used to support and enhance USO-Metro's many programs and services, including celebrity visits to local military hospitals, art and music programs, and emergency support for active duty troops facing financial hardship - all critical elements of the reintegration process.
About USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro)
USO-Metro is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization chartered by Congress, and dedicated to "Serving those who serve, and their families" in the Washington-Baltimore region. It is through the generous financial support of individuals and organizations in the local community that USO-Metro is able to fulfill its mission to lift the spirits of America's troops and their families. With the help of nearly 5,000 devoted volunteers, USO-Metro provides programs and services for active duty troops and their families at area military hospitals; through its Mobile USO program; at six USO Centers, and four USO airport lounges. For more information please visit http://www.USOMetro.org or "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter by searching USOMetroDC.
# # #Read more Press Releases from Jaimie Francois: