The Los Angeles Evening of Tribute benefiting the Navy SEAL Foundation raised $4 million for the organization’s Naval Special Warfare community, which provides financial, emotional, and therapeutic support for wounded soldiers and families of fallen post-9/11 veterans.
Bob Iger, Walt Disney chair and CEO, was feted with the Navy SEAL Foundation’s patriot award at the Thursday night soiree, held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. “Pirates of the Caribbean” producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a former recipient of the award, was there to present Iger with the honor, as well as master of ceremonies Jimmy Kimmel.
Additional guests included producer Brian Grazer, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, actress Zoe Saldana, New England Patriots CEO Robert Kraft — who donated $100,000 at the event — U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and keynote speaker Leon E. Panetta, former CIA director and U.S. secretary of defense. David Foster was also on hand to provide musical entertainment.
“We must never fail to recognize the sacrifices made by soldiers on our behalf,” said Iger, whose Work Here campaign has placed nearly 26,000 returning veterans in company-wide jobs. “My father served in the Navy in World War II. Back then war was an appreciated sacrifice. In Vietnam, the soldiers came back to a deeply divided nation. Every generation of veterans deserves a lifetime of gratitude.”
But the most touching and emotional moment of the night came when Christina Valentine, whose husband was killed in the line of duty as a Navy SEAL, delivered a plea to hold the memories of those fallen soldiers in our hearts. There was not a dry eye in the house.
“It’s been nine years since [my husband] Tom died and that moment when I found out will never leave me, and it’s shaped the person that I have become,” Valentine said. :These soldiers had a calling and it was to serve their country. We must never forget the sacrifices that they have endured.”