Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) celebrated its 10th Anniversary with the Heroes Gala on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York. The annual event, now in its eighth year, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support IAVA and its mission to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
Each year, IAVA recognizes individuals who have shown an immense dedication to the veterans community. This year’s event honored CEO and Co-Founder of Uber Inc., Travis Kalanick, with the 2014 IAVA Civilian Leadership Award, and Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, with the 2014 IAVA Veteran Leadership Award. The evening was emceed by Willie Geist, co-anchor of NBC’s “Today” Show and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”, and featured a musical performance from Nashville, Tenn., singer-songwriter Kandace Springs.
Around 700 veterans and guests mingled during the red carpet and cocktail hour before taking their seats for the ceremony. After an introduction from Willie Geist, who announced eight lucky guests had $100 Uber gift certificates under their seats,IAVA Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Rieckhoff took the stage to welcome guests and thank veteran and civilian supporters. “IAVA has touched more veterans than anyone,” he said. “We are showing the world that vets are rising”. He made special mention to IAVA’s newest board member, actor, film director and producer, Peter Berg. Listen to the full speech here.