NEW YORK, June 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans & the Military Family will be the first event of its kind to recognize outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to our nation's veterans and military families. It will be presented in Washington D.C. by The Friars Foundation, the charitable arm of the legendary Friars Club whose Chairman is Ambassador Joseph Zappala. The event will take place over the course of two days, with honors awarded in ten categories at a special ceremony on January 6, 2015 and an All-Star concert, taking place on January 7, 2015 at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Concert Hall. The event will be packaged for national primetime broadcast to coincide with the March 4, 2015, 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's landmark Second Inaugural Address, where he stated America's commitment "to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan."
Beginning on June 18, 2014 through August 18, 2014, people can visit www.thelincolnawards.org to submit nominations. The Lincoln Awards categories include: Standard Bearer (outstanding lifetime achievement and excellence by a veteran in exemplifying selfless service); Veteran (outstanding achievement and excellence by a veteran in providing aid and opportunities to other veterans); Public Service (outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to veterans by a government employee); Medical and Science (outstanding service to veterans by a member of the medical or scientific community); Caregiver (outstanding achievement and excellence in providing care to veterans); Entertainer (performer; outstanding achievement and excellence in supporting and giving back to veterans by an entertainer); Artistic (outstanding achievement and excellence in portraying the veteran experience through the arts, film or literature); Citizen (outstanding service and support to veterans by a private citizen); Corporate Citizen (outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and services to veterans by a company or organization); and Non-Profit Citizen (outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and services to veterans by a not-for-profit company or organization).
The Friars Foundation will review nominations in each category and a distinguished selection committee will determine the official honorees. Recipients will be announced to coincide with Veterans Day, November 11, 2014. The Lincoln Awards Selection Committee includes Paul (Buddy) Bucha, Executive leader, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient; Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post National Editor; Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, retired United States Army General, served as the 32nd Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army; Hon. Max Cleland, Former VA Administrator; Hon. Scott Gould, Former VA Deputy Secretary; Dr. Vivian Greentree, SVP, First Data Corporation and co-founder Blue Star Families; Michael Gyure, Executive Director Friars Club and Friars Foundation; Dr. Anthony Hassan, Director, USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families; Dr. Michael Haynie, Executive Director, Syracuse Institute for Veteran and Military Families; Jerry Lewis, Academy Award®-winning director, producer, writer, actor and philanthropist; Admiral (R) Clyde Marsh, President, National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs; Hon. Jim Peake, MD, Former VA Secretary; Ned Powell, Former VA Deputy Secretary (Acting), Former President and CEO, USO; Hon. Anthony Principi, Former VA Secretary; Nancy Youssef, McClatchy National Security Correspondent.
The Lincoln Awards Advisory Board includes several notable entertainers, philanthropic activists, executives, Veterans and journalists, including Harry Belafonte, Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Allen Grubman, Larry King, Leslie Moonves, Don Rickles, Barbara Walters, Betty White, Elie Wiesel, Brian Williams and Bob Woodruff.
According to Event Chairman, the Hon. Tommy Sowers, The Lincoln Awards will become an annual prestigious event in Washington, DC. "The concert brings the entertainment community, and by extension, the country, together to celebrate veterans and the military family" states Sowers. "More than a concert, we seek to shine a light on the best of America, and honor The Lincoln Awards recipients. By portraying Veterans as we are – not angels or demons – but everyday Americans that live our nation's best values, we hope to create an event special enough to begin a national tradition."
The Friars Foundation has been a moving force behind the wellbeing and positive attitude of troops injured in war through their Gift of Laughter Wounded Warriors Program. They have provided uplifting entertainment at institutions in the states such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Brooke Medical Center and also abroad to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, in Germany. According to Ambassador Zappala, "It is an honor for the Friars Foundation to be a conduit in carrying out Abraham Lincoln's mission to care for those who have put their lives on the line to secure our freedom. To acknowledge these individuals for work over and above the cause of humanity is the very least we can do to honor them. Within each of them resides the promise that Lincoln made and it is our resolve to recognize them.
Along with Tommy Sowers and Ambassador Zappala, the production executives include Executive Producer Cappy R. McGarr a Kennedy Center Trustee appointed by President Obama and Emmy-nominated co-creator and producer of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song; Michael Gyure, Executive Producer and Executive Director of the Friars Club and Friars Foundation; Executive Producers Michael B. Matuza and Jay Weissman, founders of the Chairman Entertainment Group and Emmy and NAACP nominated producers, who along with Michael Gyure, have produced the Roasts of Jack Black, Quentin Tarantino and Betty White as well as the Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Award honoring Don Rickles and the Entertainment Icon Award honoring Tom Cruise, in association with the Friars Club.
In addition to serving as a project executive, generous support for The Lincoln Awards is being provided by Lenny Wilf, Chairman, Friars Foundation Gift of Laughter for Wounded Warriors Program as well as founder of the Haven From The Storm Foundation, established to support returning service people, address the particular problems faced by vets today, aid in their recovery and provide assistance for their re-entry back into productive society. "This is a golden opportunity to acknowledge those benevolent individuals and entities that stand out among their peers through their service to veterans and military personnel. If it weren't for the kindness, dedication and determination of these Lincoln Award recipients so many of the men and women who have fought for freedom in our country would not receive the respect and aid they notably deserve," observes Wilf.
Delta Airlines is the official airline partner of The Lincoln Awards. "Delta is proud of its longstanding tradition of providing employment opportunities for those individuals who have served our country," said Delta Air Lines president Ed Bastian. "We continue to partner with business leaders and elected officials to further develop best practices and recruitment strategies. Delta is privileged to be the official airline sponsor of The Lincoln Awards. "
About the Friars Club and The Friars Foundation: The Friars Club is considered one of the most prestigious fraternal orders in the world, and rated among the top clubs in the nation. Since 1904, the Friars Club has been combining the outstanding qualities of show business and the humanities, and its many functions and events covering those areas attract international media coverage. The Friars Foundation has given away millions of dollars to performing arts groups, educational institutions and general charities. Their mission, along with their Gift of Laughter Wounded Warrior Program, is to foster the performing arts through scholarships to underprivileged students pursuing the arts.
SOURCE Friars Club; The Friars Foundation