About 100 wounded servicemen and women, family members, staff, and caregivers from Walter Reed National Medical Center, Fort Meade, and Fort Belvoir attended the event titled,“Love Forever, Forever Opera” at the Embassy of Italy. The concert featured Maestro Alexis Soriano and The New York Opera Society Chamber Orchestra that performed a collection of famous opera pieces from Carmen, Tosca, The Barber of Seville, and Rigoletto.
Nearly 500 people, including officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as Members of Congress, diplomats, and other members of the Washington community assembled to honor wounded veterans, their families, and their caregivers in attendance.
The Ambassador of Italy to United States Claudio Bisogniero delivered a brief welcome address. “The wounded warriors,” said the Ambassador,“embody the ultimate symbol of devotion to their homeland and to the values to which we are all committed. The Italian military is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with its American colleagues to defend peace, security and our fundamental values and rights, in different – and often difficult – parts of the world.”
Simone Bemporad, Chief Executive Officer of Finmeccanica North America, expressed his appreciation for servicemen and servicewomen: “As a longtime partner of the U.S. Armed Forces, the men and women of Finmeccanica have learned much about our men and women in uniform…. Working with you every day has taught us that there is nothing to be prouder of than serving those who serve the Nation.”
William J. Lynn, Chief Executive Officer of DRS Technologies, who also spoke, recognized the warriors for their service: “Our wounded warriors inspire us by their courage and resilience. We owe them a debt of gratitude, which we can never fully repay, yet we can make small installments at occasions such as this in their honor.”
Following the performance, Finmeccanica (finmeccanica.com) presented charitable donations to three organizations that support wounded service members: The Aleethia Foundation, Fisher House Foundation, and Wounded Warrior Projectä.
On hand to accept the check for The Aleethia Foundation was Founder and President, Hal Koster; For Fisher House, President Dave Coker; For Wounded Warrior Project™, Anthony Odierno, Secretary of the Board of Directors.
About the Aleethia Foundation
The Aleethia Foundation (aleethia.org) supports injured warriors through short-term, therapeutic recreation during the early stages of healing and provides assistive technology items for traumatic brain injury patients. The benefits of social interaction and change of environment have proven extremely beneficial for the wounded warriors and their families. The Aleethia Foundation provides activities away from the hospital setting and hosts Friday Night Dinners for the service members, families, and caregivers in the beltway region.
About Fisher House Foundation
Fisher House Foundation (fisherhouse.org) donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers to enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. This year, the 58 Fisher Houses currently in operation will support over 17,000 families, saving them over $25 million in lodging and travel expenses. In addition to constructing new houses, In addition to constructing new houses, Fisher House Foundation helps individual military families through the Hero Miles©, Hotels for Heroes©, and Scholarships for Military Children© programs.
About Wounded Warrior Project™ (WWP)
The mission of Wounded Warrior Project™ (woundedwarriorproject.org) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.