The American Red Cross and members from all five branches of the United States armed forces invaded the Hyatt Pier 66 for the First Annual Salute to the Armed Forces and Humanitarian of the Year Dinner. The Apr. 30 event hosted local and visiting military leaders as the South Florida community saluted their valiant efforts and honored E. Roe Stamps IV, this year’s recipient of the Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award, the American Red Cross’ highest distinction.
“Our Salute to the Armed Forces Dinner was the perfect celebration of the longstanding relationship between the American Red Cross and our nation’s armed forces,” said Sam Tidwell, CEO of the American Red Cross South Florida Region, serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. “Red Crossers and service men and women had the chance to unite and to learn more about the strong ties between us.”
From its birth on the battlefield more than 150 years ago, to supporting troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, the Red Cross always has helped members of the military. Indeed, from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 the American Red Cross South Florida Region delivered 989 emergency messages between members of the military and their families, opened 857 military cases and delivered more than 200 holiday stockings to troops serving overseas and at the Miami VA Hospital. The American Red Cross South Florida Region, Gen. Douglas Fraser of the US Southern Command, and the Hon. BJ Penn, former assistant secretary of the Navy, honored that exceptional bond paying tribute to the men and women who so valiantly have risked their lives for the United States.
Also honored for his service was Capt. James Ware, commander of the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship that treated hundreds of men, women and children who were critically injured following the Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti. American Red Cross volunteers joined the crew of the Comfort, helping to translate for patients receiving care aboard the ship. A live, 16-piece Sinatra-style orchestra entertained guests throughout the evening while they participated in a thrilling auction featuring two 30-minute death-defying flights in an F-16 fighter jet, a cruise courtesy of Celebrity Cruises, or the use of a flight simulator.