Eighth Annual Gala Supports Families in Need, Pays Tribute to 'Greatest Generation' World War II Veterans
FORT WORTH, Texas, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- American Airlines and the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation (FWAPF) are once again partnering to present the eighth annual Sky Ball fundraiser in support of North Texas military families and to honor service members, veterans and their families.
This year's patriotic celebration, "A Tribute to the Greatest Generation: Remembering our Veterans from World War II," will be held Saturday, Oct. 23, at American's Alliance Airport Maintenance and Engineering Base in Fort Worth. Some 600 American Airlines and American Eagle employee volunteers will support the event, which will include a headline performance by award-winning actor and musician Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.
"We look forward to this event each year because it provides an opportunity for all of us at American and American Eagle Airlines to support two important long-standing commitments: Paying tribute to the brave men and women who defend our country, and giving back to our community," said Bob Reding, American's Executive Vice President Operations. "The continued success of Sky Ball can be attributed to our dedicated employee volunteers, the generosity of this community, and our great relationship with the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation. We are so glad to be able to provide assistance to the many military families in North Texas that sacrifice so much for our country."
A gourmet dinner that evening will be the work of renowned Executive Chef Heath Miles, Chef-in-Residence at Texas Motor Speedway, and ONEHOPE wines will provide its Yellow Ribbon Red Zinfandel at the event. ONEHOPE donates 50 percent of profits from Red Zinfandel sales to support our troops. American Airlines will proudly serve this wine inflight in premium cabins on transcontinental and Hawaii flights during November.
The Fort Worth Airpower Foundation is dedicated to supporting North Texas military families, and Sky Ball proceeds help provide financial assistance. Many of these families struggle to meet their financial obligations when their loved ones are called to active duty and, in many cases, for multiple tours overseas. Support comes in many forms, including financial aid for those with a family member who has been deployed; departure and welcome-home receptions; support for welfare and relief projects of the units based in North Texas; and care packages and gifts to soldiers wounded in battle who are recuperating at military hospitals.
"It is important to recognize that, while thousands of North Texans fight for our freedom overseas, many of their families fight to survive at home," said Mike Snyder, Chairman of the Airpower Foundation and Co-chair of Sky Ball VIII. "American Airlines and the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation understand the importance of supporting these families, and we will continue to assist them as much as possible because they deserve nothing less."
A number of World War II veterans will be welcomed as special guests, including U.S.S. Indianapolis survivor Cleatus Lebow, Tuskegee airmen Don Elder and Calvin Spann, and Glenn McDuffie, the sailor kissing a nurse in the iconic Life magazine cover photograph taken in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945. Odean "Deanie" Parrish, a courageous Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) will also be present at the gala. Photos of American Airlines employees' family members who served in World War II will be on display throughout the hangar, and a special tribute slide show will be presented in their honor.
Additional celebrity guests appearing at Sky Ball VIII will include singer/songwriter Radney Foster, who will perform his song, "Angel Flight." A special rendition of "Requiem for a Soldier," made famous by the World War II HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, will be performed by Broadway star Laurie Gayle Stephenson. Renowned actress Jane Russell will also make a guest appearance at the event, and actor James McEachin will present a brief dramatic vignette, "Fallen Comrade."
Other features at the gala will include:
- A World War II static aircraft display
- A portrait presentation by the American Fallen Soldiers Project to the family of a Normandy Beach casualty
- The legendary military grog bowl ceremony, a tribute to the nation's service members and veterans
- A special swearing-in ceremony of 20 new recruits to various branches of the military
Another exciting attraction, B-25 bomber flights, will be available for purchase at the event, with all proceeds from the flights donated to History Flight and the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation. History Flight is a nonprofit organization that provides the public the opportunity to fly aboard World War II aircraft, with all proceeds funding History Flight's recovery expeditions dedicated to bringing home the remains of service men Missing in Action in remote World War II battle sites. American is currently assisting History Flight with the search and recovery of MIA U.S. troops, notably Marines who fought at Tarawa in the Pacific Theater.
All Sky Ball proceeds directly benefit the Navy-Marine Corps, National Guard Relief Fund and families of those stationed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. Last year's event raised more than $600,000 for families of deployed troops.
Sponsorships and tables can be purchased on the Sky Ball VIII website, www.skyballviii.com.
About American Airlines
American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection® serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning website, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in more than 130 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)
About The Fort Worth Airpower Foundation
The Fort Worth Airpower Foundation (a 501(c)(3) Foundation) is an associate entity of the Fort Worth Airpower Council, the nation's oldest military support organization, established in 1958 with Frank Kent as its first Chairman. The Foundation is pledged to support and enhance the Military of the United States of America in all efforts to protect and promote freedom. Specifically, the Foundation is committed to supporting the families of the men and women serving our country, especially those assigned to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS-JRB) Fort Worth, recognizing and honoring the JRB's importance to our community.
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SOURCE American Airlines