16th Annual Leave No One Behind Gala Invites Guests to Experience 1918
On October 10, over 600 guests gathered at the Seaport World Trade Center to support the NECHV’s mission and salute those who are committed to leaving no Veteran behind. This year’s event marked the 100th anniversary of The Armistice, which signaled the end of World War I. Armistice Day later became Veterans Day, a day to honor the military personnel who have served our Nation.
Guests arrived to a cocktail reception where they could bid on silent auction items from categories like “Home, Lifestyle, and Wine,” “Sports and Entertainment,” and “Out on the Town.” The reception was designed to welcome guests to 1918. Propaganda posters from World War I adorned the room, as well as replicas of period furniture. A cast of characters in early 1900’s dress with World War I backstories circulated the room, mingling with guests and giving interviews to two Toastmasters broadcasting a Facebook Live stream from the event. The livestream provided a new way to allow people who couldn’t attend the event an opportunity to experience the gala and participate in the Silent Auction.
Acting as Master of Ceremonies this year was Chief Meteorologist Matt Noyes, of NBC10 Boston and NECN. Navy Veteran Heidi Willson opened the program with the National Anthem and Sister Joan Guertin of the Holy Union Sisters delivered the invocation. F. Beirne Lovely Jr., Esq., the Chairman of the NECHV Board of Directors, welcomed the attendees and President and CEO Andy McCawley gave the presiding remarks. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also attended and delivered remarks about the important role that the NECHV fills for Veterans in the area. The program also included a live auction that featured a Celtics package, a private flight experience, tickets to see Hamilton in Boston, rare cigars, a private at-home dinner prepared by Seaport Hotel Executive Chef Richard Rayment with Trifecta Wines, and a getaway to beautiful Napa, California.
Three awards were presented, including the first-ever Heart of Service Award. Kristine E. DiNardo, M.Ed., LMHC, MFT, the Center’s Vice President of Human Services, received the Heart of Service Award for her dedication to and compassion for the Veterans served at the NECHV. Her leadership, vision for care, and innovative approach to models of service have led the organization from being a basic needs provider to being at the forefront of developing impactful, adaptive, and Veteran-centric programs to serve and enable the most vulnerable Veterans.
Navy Veteran Steve Creedon received the 2018 Battlefield Citation, an honor that recognizes a Veteran for their achievements both during and after their military service. After experiencing setbacks during the 2008 financial crisis, followed by the loss of his wife and his own serious health issues, Steve had life-saving cardiac surgery and recuperated at the Center. He took advantage of the programs and services available to him at the NECHV and found a permanent home. He visits the Center often, inspiring other Veterans to find success.
Capt. Thomas G. Kelley, MOH, USN (Ret.) was awarded the Brian A. Brooks Distinguished Service to Veterans Award for his dedicated public leadership and service on behalf of the Veterans of Massachusetts. After a distinguished thirty-year Naval career, Kelley returned to Massachusetts and commenced his public service. He was appointed commissioner as the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services in 1999 and named Secretary in August 2003. Kelley instituted new programs to reach post-9/11 Veterans’ unique needs, especially those involving the unseen wounds of war, such as traumatic brain injury and PTSD. Secretary Kelley’s strong and effective leadership and advocacy ensured that Massachusetts became the nation’s leader in supporting those who served.
The Leave No One Behind Gala raised over $576,000 for the programs and services at the NECHV that enable Veterans to achieve sustainable, independent living. Thank you to all of our friends and partners for a wonderful night. Thank you for joining us in the commitment to leave no Veteran behind!
Save the date for next year! The 17th Annual Leave No One Behind Gala will be on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at the Seaport World Trade Center.