On Saturday, Feb. 8, The Heart Of A Marine Foundation hosted the ninth annual Hearts of Valor Ball at the Marriott Schaumburg.
The Hearts of Valor 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 our KIAs, MIAs, and POWs.
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Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ty Simmons USA (Ret.), was the keynote speaker at this year's event. Simmons served our country as an Army aviator in Vietnam as a Huey helicopter pilot, and in Iraq piloting Chinooks.
"What an honor to be asked to speak to this group tonight," said Simmons. "This room is filled with patriotism. It doesn't get better than this. We are proud to be a part of this evening."
Simmons' message was impactful, focusing on the camaraderie within the military.
"I will never forget those I have served with through the years," Simmons continued. "Those who did not return, they are our heroes. Their lives are significant and spirits are a part of me today."
Simmons, a resident of Aurora, Illinois, was the first Vietnam veteran to address the Hearts of Valor Ball.
"His message truly resonated with this audience," said Barbara Matsukes, marketing director for The Heart Of A Marine Foundation. "The standing ovation Ty received at the conclusion of his talk was genuine, touching, and meaningful. The connection he made with our guests will be felt for a long time."
A special reunion took place among the over 350 guests. Four Marines from Phil Frank's unit; 3rd platoon, Company G, Second Battalion First Marine Regiment, Fallujah were in attendance.
Georgette Frank, co-founder of The Heart Of A Marine Foundation, and Phil's mom expressed, "I am overwhelmed with emotion that they are here."
"To spend time with the Marines that served with Phil is indescribable. I am so happy and honored they are here with us tonight," Frank added.
Also in attendance were five World War II veterans.
"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."
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 further information regarding The Heart Of A Marine Foundation, please visit www.heartofamarine.org or call (847) 621-7324.
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