American Airlines, The Sands Foundation Team Up to Host Wounded Warriors Trip to Las Vegas
Yellow-Ribbon Flagship Independence Transports U.S. Troops on Inaugural Flight from New York City to The Venetian for Second Annual "Tribute to the Troops"
Press Release Source: American Airlines On Thursday November 11, 2010, 10:30 am
NEW YORK, Nov. 11, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Veterans Day, American Airlines, the USO and The Sands Foundation, the charitable arm of Las Vegas Sands Corp., will once again honor our nation's veterans and active members with a weekend of relaxation, entertainment, sightseeing, and educational seminars.
As part of the celebration, American Airlines unveiled this morning the Flagship Independence, the latest addition to its yellow-ribbon fleet, with a ceremony at JFK International Airport (JFK). The observance also was a send-off party for the Boeing 767 aircraft as it departed with approximately 150 wounded warriors and their guests for a weekend in Las Vegas. American Airlines, which is the official airline of the USO, is collaborating with the USO to serve these special service members.
American Airlines and The Sands Foundation are presenting sponsors of the "Tribute to the Troops 2010 Las Vegas," a weekend of events and activities for wounded warriors and their guests from around the country. The group includes service members from Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga.; Bethesda Navy Hospital; Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; and veterans from the New York City area.
"All of us at American Airlines are proud to honor the men and women who put themselves in harm's way to protect our freedom," said Art Torno, American's Vice President – New York. "It is a privilege to have them here with us for the rollout of our newest yellow-ribbon aircraft, and to provide flights for them from New York for this weekend in Las Vegas. These men and women deserve our utmost gratitude and respect."
"The Sands Foundation, along with Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, are honored to host these heroes on Veterans Day at The Venetian," said Andy Abboud, Vice President of Government Relations and Community Development for Las Vegas Sands Corp. "They selflessly put everything on the line for the rest of us. We're grateful for the opportunity to personally thank them for their brave service."
Upon arriving in Las Vegas, the group will attend the grand opening of USO Las Vegas, a new center at McCarran International Airport, followed by a welcome ceremony at The Venetian, with a "walk of gratitude" and the national anthem sung by Steve Amerson, the voice of the Medal of Honor Foundation and "America's Tenor." Country music singer/songwriter Clint Black will perform a private concert that evening at The Venetian.
"One of the greatest honors our organization has is providing programs for wounded warriors and their families recovering at military hospitals and Warrior Transition Units," said Elaine Rogers, President – USO of Metropolitan Washington. "For the second year, we are grateful to offer an amazing Las Vegas experience for these heroes and their caregivers, thanks to the generosity of American Airlines and The Sands Foundation."
The schedule includes a skydiving exhibition by Dana Bowman, double-amputee and former member of the U.S. Army's elite Golden Knights parachute team. Attendees will be special guests for a performance by Blue Man Group at The Venetian to benefit ThanksUSA, a nonprofit organization that provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships to children and spouses of service members.
There will be a concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, to be presented by American Airlines and the Huey 091 Foundation at the Orleans Hotel showroom. A portion of concert proceeds will benefit Air Compassion for Veterans, a nonprofit program that provides air transportation to active military, veterans and their immediate family to receive medical, counseling and diverse rehabilitation services. Terry Fator, ventriloquist and "America's Got Talent" winner, will conclude the weekend with a performance. Remaining tickets for Fator's performance will be offered to the public, with proceeds benefiting the United Service Organization (USO).
The rollout of Flagship Independence brings to six the number of American and American Eagle aircraft that proudly sport iconic yellow-ribbon decals and the slogan, "In support of all who serve," on their fuselages, a visual expression of the airlines' support for the nation's armed forces.
The other yellow-ribbon aircraft include an American Airlines 757, Flagship Freedom; a 737, Flagship Liberty; and three American Eagle aircraft. These aircraft are often utilized for special charter flights for veterans, wounded military and first responders.
American Airlines has long-standing ties to the nation's armed forces. With more than 60 percent of American's pilots and 10 percent of all American and American Eagle Airlines employees serving as active military or veterans, the company places a strong emphasis on its military and veterans initiatives.
American supports members of the military, veterans and their families in their communities via in-kind contributions to nonprofit organizations and employee engagement in a wide variety of events and activities. American also offers special airfares, priority boarding and Admirals Club® Lounge access for qualifying active military.