(Left to right): Laura Tan, U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Navy CDR Teddy Tan, U.S. Marine Col. Barney Barnum and Hope For The Warriors Co-founder and CEO Robin Kelleher.
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SPRINGFIELD, Va. (October 31, 2023) –Hope For The Warriors recently hosted its 13th Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
The Got Heart Give Hope Gala honored three members of our nation’s armed forces and their families with the Vigiano Hope and Courage Awards. Named in honor of the Vigiano family, who lost both of their sons in the September 11th attacks, the Hope and Courage Awards are presented to service members and military family members who have demonstrated both hope and courage in the face of extraordinary circumstances.
In addition, Hope For The Warriors also honored three individuals, corporations and organizations who have stood beside the organization in serving military families.
Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors assists veterans, service members and military families by providing financial, career and educational stability; physical and emotional strength; and social support that builds community.
“We were excited to bring this annual event back to Washington, D.C.,” shared Robin Kelleher, co-founder and CEO of Hope For The Warriors. “It was a truly a special night honoring service members, veterans and their families for their sacrifices while serving. In addition, we spotlighted those companies and partnering organizations that are standing by Hope For The Warriors as we continue to serve deserving military families across the country.”
Emceeing the event was Michael J of iHeartMedia, and delivering the keynote speech was U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Assisting with presenting awards was U.S. Marine Col. Barney Barnum.
Demonstrating exceptional acts of courage and service and who embody the essence of self, family and hope, this year’s Vigiano Family Hope & Courage Award honorees included:
U.S. Navy CDR Teddy Tan, the son of Chinese migrants, was born and raised in the Philippines. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served at Antarctic Development Squadron Six and at the Navy Personnel Command before joining the officer ranks and medically retired in March 2023 after more than 30 years of service. Tan’s active-duty tours include serving as the Executive Officer (XO) of the Brooks Center for Maritime Engagement (BCME) within the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) for his final assignment in August 2020. Prior to this, Tan served as the Human intelligence/
Tan’s military awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (3), Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Navy Bio Information Commendation Medal (4), Navy Achievement Medal (8) and the insignias for Information Warfare, Naval Aviation Observer, Integrated Undersea Surveillance System and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist, as well as various campaign and service awards.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Raymundo (Ray) Soto, who retired in 2018, served in the U.S. Army for 23 years. His most recent assignment was the Senior Enlisted Advisor for CENTCOM (Central Command) Detachment 4, providing intelligence in support of operations in the Middle East. Soto’s military awards include the Combat Action Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five Meritorious Service Medals and many others.
Today, Soto is an active member of several San Antonio running groups where he mentors/trains veterans wanting to run distances from 5Ks to marathons. He also enjoys the outdoors with his son and spends therapeutic time with other veterans with outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.
Military advocate Shaina Purser, inspired by her experience as a military family member and dual caregiver, Purser decided to pursue a career of representation and awareness for military families and families with special needs. As a three-time Hope For The Warriors Military Spouse and Caregiver scholarship recipient, she completed her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Southern California. Specializing in Social Change & Innovation and Military Social Work, she has pursued a career that fulfills and drives her, creating system-level change through developing innovative and custom solutions and interventions for those who need them most.
Today, Purser continues to serve the military community as a member of Hope For The Warriors Military Spouse & Caregiver Scholarship Committee. In addition, Purser continues to use her life experiences as a military caregiver with the American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN), where she supports other caregivers through peer group facilitation and mentorship.
The following individuals, corporations and organizations have stood beside Hope For The Warriors from inception and continue to serve military families. This year’s Partners in Mission recipients included:
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael G. Mullen received the Harry Bridgwood Lifetime Service Award which is awarded to a Vietnam era veteran who has committed his or her life to serving the next generations of the warrior community. Mullen served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations from 2005-2007 and as the 17th Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff for presidents Bush and Obama from 2007 to 2011.
Mullen retired from the Navy in November 2011 after 43 years of distinguished service. He is currently president of MGM Consulting, which provides counsel to global clients on issues related to geo-political developments, national security interests and strategic leadership.
On behalf of Car Donation Foundation, Loren Dorshow accepted the Chairman’s Award for Corporate Citizenship, which is awarded to a longtime strategic partner of Hope For The Warriors. Based in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and through its Vehicles For Veterans program, Car Donation Foundation vehicle donation program provides funding to nonprofits with missions to build better lives for disabled veterans and their families in need of assistance and support.
Since 2018, Car Donation Foundation has donated over $1.9 million to Hope For The Warriors and its programs benefiting military families.
Kyle Mitchin was named a recipient of the Gary Sinise Community Service Award, which is presented to an individual who puts his or her patriotism in action to serve military families and raise awareness of the needs of the military community. Mitchin serves as Forward Air’s chief people officer, where he oversees all aspects of the company’s Human Resource function as well as the capacity growth and retention initiatives for its fleet of independent contractors. Additionally, he led the development of the company’s charitable platform, Operation: Forward Freedom, to raise funds for Hope For The Warriors and its programs through the annual Drive For Hope golf tournament and various fundraising activities.
For more information on the 13th Annual Got Heart Give Hope Gala, visit hopeforthewarriors.org.
About Hope For The Warriors: Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a foundation of stability, strength and community for post-9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served over 159,000 through a variety of support programs focused on providing financial, career and educational stability; physical and emotional strength; and social support that builds community. One of the nonprofit’s first programs, Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships, has awarded 232 scholarships to caregivers and families of the fallen. For more information, visit hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Hope For The Warriors
About Got Heart Give Hope Gala: Since 2010, the Hope and Courage Awards have been presented to service members and military family members who have demonstrated both hope and courage in the face of extraordinary circumstances. Named in honor of the Vigiano family, Captain John Vigiano Sr., retired FDNY, and his wife, Jan, gave both of their sons on 9/11—one served as a fire fighter and the other served as a police officer in New York City. The Vigiano family has continued to serve by supporting service members and military families. In celebration of the event’s 10th year, six new awards were introduced highlighting individuals, corporations and organizations who have stood beside the organization in serving military families.