Celebration will honor, salute local veterans
On the Thursday before Memorial Day, Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania will host A Tribute to Veterans at Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh Music Hall, which brings together 600 people including honorable veterans, well-known business leaders and dedicated supporters of the veteran community for an evening of honoring, celebrating and saluting the men and women who have served their country.
A Tribute to Veterans is an annual awards ceremony held to recognize local veterans and Pittsburgh organizations committed to serving veterans.
Awards presentation and performances by Chris Jamison from NBC’s “The Voice” will highlight the evening. Those receiving awards include:
Chairman’s Award: United States Marine Corps Sergeant Joseph Caskey.
Sergeant Joseph D. Caskey made the ultimate sacrifice on June 26, 2010. He was serving his second tour of duty in Helmand Province, a dangerous area in Afghanistan, when his unit was engaged with the enemy Taliban and an improvised explosive device (IED) struck his lead vehicle. Sergeant Caskey was a decorated combat Marine who received numerous personal awards including a Purple Heart.
Veteran of the Year: United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Joe Wadlow.
Staff Sergeant Joe Wadlow, United States Marine Corps Veteran, will receive an award for the patriotism, generosity and selflessness he has shown to his fellow veterans. Staff Sergeant Wadlow is the co-owner of the Monte Cello’s restaurants and founder of the Fallen Marine Memorial Motorcycle Run, which provides scholarships to assist families of Marines killed or disabled in action.
Community Partner Award: Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans.
Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans, a collaboration between Veterans’ Cable Services and Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs provides service dogs to veterans who are physically disabled or have cognitive challenges resulting from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since launching the organization on Veterans Day – November 11, 2015 – the organization has raised nearly $200,000 to connect nine veterans to a service dog and have achieved a 100 percent success rate, meaning no veteran who has received a service dog has committed suicide.
Corporate Leader Award: The Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pittsburgh Pirates is recognized for its service to the local veteran community by raising community awareness of veterans needs and supporting the mission of local veteran organizations. In 2014, Pirates Charities set the record of raising more than $600,000 for their seventh annual “Pirates Charities on ROOT Sports Auction,” which was donated to three veteran nonprofit organizations. For the past three years, Pirates Charities has donated proceeds from its 50/50 raffle and collected donations from fans to support Veterans Leadership Program’s day-long services fair for homeless veterans called Stand Down Pittsburgh.