As the SRS Raise the Roof Foundation has continued to grow, we have always tried to stay true to our roots. Supporting our military veterans has been one of the pillars of our organization since our inception, and our partnership with Luke’s Wings has allowed us to realize an incredible impact in the world of wounded veteran assistance.
On April 7th, Luke’s Wings hosted the 10th Anniversary Heroes Gala, looking back on ten years of service through the eyes of beneficiaries and donors. This year’s event, dedicated to celebrating Luke’s Wings’ spirited history, raised over $433,000 to support their mission of providing flights to wounded, ill and injured service members and their loved ones during recovery and rehabilitation.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary, guests heard from ten families, one from each of their ten years of service. The program began with an emotional National Anthem performance by U.S. Army Captain Luis Avila and World War II veteran, Harmonica Pete DuPre. Avila, a Luke’s Wings beneficiary, lost his ability to speak after being severely injured by an IED explosion in 2011. While his speech is still impaired, he has developed the ability to sing through voice therapy. His rendition of the National Anthem drew a standing ovation, but many tears as well.
U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Ryan Wightman (Ret.) and U.S. Army Sergeant Zachary Herrick (Ret.) introduced the 2018 Legacy Award Recipients - five organizations chosen for their unique impact on Luke’s Wings’ growth and success. Along with the SRS Raise the Roof Foundation, Delta Air Lines, E-9 Corporation and Veteran Enterprise Solutions Inc., SAIC and the Rumsfeld Foundation were selected to receive this unique award.
Since its founding, Luke’s Wings has expanded its mission to serve the Special Operations community as well as injured and ill service members recovering far from home. These two program lines were emphasized with guest speakers throughout the night. Director of Warrior Care at Special Operations Command, Colonel Cary C. Harbaugh, spoke to the importance of their relationship with Luke’s Wings in supporting the men and women sustaining injuries; past, present and future. Furthermore, U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Edward Schrank (Ret.), a five-time head and neck cancer survivor, spoke about his heart-wrenching battle with cancer resulting from chemical exposure during his 15-year military career. His combination of truth and humor emphasized the importance of loved ones when he was at his lowest point; reminding him of the tomorrows ahead.
Special appearances also included U.S. Navy veteran and musician, Dave Bray, Medal of Honor Recipient U.S. Army Captain Florent Groberg (Ret.) and viral sensation, Joe Everson, who performed God Bless America while creating a one of a kind painting of the Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima.
Luke’s Wings has grown significantly in the past 10 years, raising and donating over $7,100.000 in flights to veterans and their families. The SRS Raise the Roof Foundation is proud to have been a part of their success having given over $750,000 since our partnership began back in 2012.
We are proud to support Luke’s Wings and enjoyed our opportunity to celebrate their 10th Anniversary in such spectacular fashion.