The Heart Of A Marine Foundation hosted its eighth annual Hearts of Valor Ball at the Marriott Schaumburg. The ball is a celebration of military service and sacrifice, honoring all branches of the United States Armed Forces, veterans from all conflicts, and presents special reverence to KIA's, MIA's, and POW's.
Captain Sean Parnell, U.S. Army (retired) was the keynote speaker at this year's event. Parnell served as an Airborne Ranger with the 10th Mountain Division, receiving two Bronze Stars (one for valor), and the Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan. He is also The New York Times best-selling author of "Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan."
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"The Heart Of A Marine Foundation is my inspiration," said Parnell. "There are so many wonderful people doing so many amazing things. It is an honor to be here."
Parnell delivered a passionate message about his experiences in Afghanistan and transition into civilian life.
"There is a lot of work to do when you get home," Parnell said. "Many times there are issues to deal with before you can move forward. It's organizations like The Heart Of A Marine Foundation that are incredibly important to the veteran community. They certainly have my support."
Among the over 410 guests were two World War II veterans, one serving at Iwo Jima.
"What a privilege to have these World War II veterans with us," said Roy Frank, co-founder of The Heart Of A Marine Foundation and Gold Star Dad. "When I think of what they saw, what they experienced, I am humbled. We are very blessed to have them with us this evening."
Also in attendance were many Vietnam veterans.
"We welcome them home every year," said Georgette Frank, co-founder of The Heart Of A Marine Foundation and Gold Star Mom. "They did not have the parades or the accolades upon returning home. As long as I have breath, we will welcome them home."
The 2013 Hearts of Valor Ball hosted many first time participants.
"What a joy to introduce the foundation to so many new people," said Barbara Matsukes, marketing director for The Heart Of A Marine Foundation. "We are energized by them being here. Our devotion is deep for our long time supporters, and how fun to see so many new faces."
The Heart Of A Marine Foundation is a registered 501c3 organization dedicated to serving, all branches of the United States Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. The foundation was established in memory, honor, and spirit of Marine Lance Corporal Phillip Frank, KIA, April 2004.
For information regarding The Heart Of A Marine Foundation, visit www.heartofamarine.org or call (847) 621-7324.
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