501 attendees joined us in honor & support of the men, women and children we proudly serve.
25th Anniversary GALA Gallery
On Wednesday October 16th, 501 Long Islanders gathered at the Heritage Club in Bethpage for the United Veterans Beacon House 25th Anniversary Celebration Gala. Thanks to our sponsors and supporters – we raised a record $298,000 to help support our housing and community-based programs, thereby serving even more homeless veterans and veteran families. The evening was truly amazing!
The American Bombshells got the evening started by performing patriotic tunes during the welcome reception, which was followed by the cocktail reception, dinner, and silent and baskets auctions.
Outstanding entertainment included opera singer Gary Lorentzen, who opened our dinner program with an acapella performance of the National Anthem. He was followed by lovely jazz tunes performed by a trio from the Todd Barrie Entertainment Group, which lasted through the evening.
The 2019 honoree, Mr. Richard Hoagland, Senior VP of GEICO, spoke of the importance of community engagement, and the ongoing need to support and protect the men and women who serve our nation. Rick received a roaring round of applause when he announced GECIO’s long term commitment to Beacon House, and the ways in which the two organizations will work in tandem to prepare veterans for sustainable employment – something Geico has long championed as a corporate citizen. Of special note was Rick’s announcement of plans for Geico’s leadership role in the upcoming inaugural Beacon House Spring Walk-a-Thon. Details about that exciting event will follow in the debut issue of The Beacon, an upcoming newsletter featuring interesting articles about Beacon House activities and success stories.
The 2019 Community Partnership of the Year Award was presented to Frank Bono, owner of Primi Italian Steakhouse. Frank Bono, a strong supporter and dedicated partner of Beacon House, rose to an important challenge in 2017 when 16 veterans were displaced following the Northport Veteran’s Administration abrupt shutdown of its Veterans residential building. Frank joined forces with Beacon House to find housing for those veterans, and in the process became a valued and trusted friend.
Frank has gone on to show his dedication to Veterans through personal acts of generosity, which include bringing impromptu dinners from his restaurant to Beacon House residences, and hosting Beacon House benefits at Primi Italian Steakhouse.
This year’s gala featured the unveiling of a permanent addition to our annual celebration: the Red Carpet Salute. Participating Long Island employers honored individual veteran employees, demonstrating their appreciation for the hard work and unique experiences veteran employees bring to the workplace.
A hush fell across the room, and many grew quietly emotional as the honored veterans walked the red carpet, from the far end of the ballroom to the stage. Each veteran’s name and rank were announced, along with a description of his and her service to our nation. Two veterans were honored posthumously. The Red Carpet Salute was a memorable and moving highlight of the evening, and will become a permanent addition to future Beacon House gala celebrations.
Also memorable was the keynote address by Beacon House president and CEO, Frank Amalfitano. Frank spoke from the heart about his long history with Beacon House – from his early days driving around Long island in his red GMC pick-up truck, working to get homeless veterans off the street – to the agency’s present-day stature as a premier provider of services to homeless veterans. Over 24,000 veterans and veteran families assisted, 47 residential units providing shelter, over 100 dedicated staff, and thousands upon thousands of hours each year dedicated to helping veterans regain their independence. Frank thanked the crowed for its continued support of Beacon House and the veterans it serves.
The 25th Anniversary Gala proved to be the best ever for United Veterans Beacon House. New records were set for funds raised and attendance. The Red Carpet Salute was an impactful addition to our program. Guests enjoyed musical entertainment, dining and making new connections with their fellow guests. Most importantly, our veterans are the primary beneficiaries. They will continue to receive the housing, employment, programming and other assistance they need, and Beacon House will continue to light the way toward a life of healthy independence for all veterans.