Kentucky Marines "Salute" Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund with $250,000 Donation

"Salute to Legends of Corps" 2008

On May 23, 2008, as the sun slowly set over one of America's most scenic and idyllic thoroughbred racing facilities, Marines and friends of the Corps gathered at the Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington, Kentucky, for a "Salute to the Legends of the Corps," a dinner hosted by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council (MCCCK) for the benefit of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund (IMSFF). It was truly a great evening, as over 415 people honored combat wounded Marines, represented by a living Marine Corps legend, Colonel Wesley L. Fox, USMC (Ret), a 43 year veteran of the Corps and recipient of four (4) Purple Heart awards, in addition to our nation's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (Ret), 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps and Chairman of the IMSFF Board of Directors, delivered the keynote speech to an attentive and extremely caring and generous crowd. Upon their arrival, guests were welcomed at a reception, as some of Kentucky's best spirits flowed. Throughout the reception area, placards reflecting photographs, biographies, and in many cases valorous Medal of Honor citations for "Legendary Kentucky Marines," were prominently displayed. With the sounding of a trumpet, guests were summoned to dinner and subsequently moved to their tables, while the 2nd Marine Division Band played a classic and patriotic rendition of John Philip Sousa's "Semper Fidelis."

Following his welcoming remarks and recognition of special guests, Mr. Stephen R. Wood, expertly fulfilling his role as Master of Ceremonies, oversaw the presentation of colors by Company E, 4th Tank Battalion, USMCR, Ft Knox, Kentucky, during which Ms. Jennifer Scott, a native of Washington County, Kentucky, who now lives in Franklin, Kentucky and performs regularly as a songwriter and singer in Nashville performed the "National Anthem." Ms. Scott, whose husband is a Marine veteran of the Gulf War and a former member of Company E, 4th Tank Battalion, USMCR, Fort Knox, Kentucky, voluntarily shared her considerable talent with those in attendance, as her way of honoring the Marine Corps and its wounded warriors. Upon retiring the colors, tribute was given to our fallen comrades, whose presence was symbolized by a small table shrouded in black, with overturned dinner plates and goblet, Marine Corps sword, and uniform cover, prominently displayed in a place of honor adjacent to the podium. Echo taps broke a traditional moment of silence for all who have given their lives in the defense of our nation.

With the opening ceremonies completed, dinner was served by a very courteous, efficient and friendly staff of Turf Catering Company. While guests were finishing their meals and enjoying a delicious dessert, a recently released IMSFF documentary video was shown on a large screen and auxiliary monitors, following which General Alfred M. Gray commanded the attention of virtually everybody in the room, including waiters and waitresses, with an eloquent assessment of the plight of our injured Marines and what the IMSFF has done and will continue to do in order to assist and support them during the recovery and rehabilitation process.

Although several recovering injured Marines were present and appropriately recognized, Colonel Wesley L. Fox, USMC (Ret), who himself was wounded four (4) times in two (2) wars, was honored to represent the legendary combat wounded Marines who were the evening's thematic focus. As a native Virginian and a retired Marine Corps colonel, it was only appropriate that Mr. David A. Jones and Mr. James E. (Ted) Bassett III (Co-Chairmen) present Colonel Wesley L. Fox with a "Kentucky Colonel" commission and a traditional engraved silver mint julep cup.  Following dinner, Colonel Fox conducted a personalized author book signing of both "Marine Rifleman" and "Courage and Fear," with all proceeds being donated to the IMSFF.  Colonel Fox and his wife, Ms. Dotti Lu Fox, were most gracious and thoroughly enjoyed their brief visit to Kentucky.

There followed a special award presentation recognizing a very unusual endeavor undertaken for the benefit of the IMSFF. Why does an individual, with no Marine Corps or military connections, take it upon himself to honor the service of Marines who have gone in harm's way for their nation and have suffered greatly? By running 131 consecutive marathons (26.2 miles each) from July 4, 2007 (Independence Day) to November 11, 2007 (Veterans Day), he was able to raise awareness within the Louisville community for the plight of injured Marines, and in so doing raised $18,000 for the IMSFF. Most of his marathons were run during the hottest part of each day - an especially difficult task during the warmest August on record - in a symbolic gesture of solidarity with troops serving in scorching desert conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. When interviewed by the press concerning the purpose of his daunting mission, he replied "I'm not out to test the boundaries of human endurance, but I am out to test the boundaries of what one man can do to help many others. I'm convinced that putting ourselves aside and caring for someone else is what can help us reach our ultimate potential." On his final run, he was joined by local Marines, some of whom were present at the "Salute," who cheered him on as he carried a 5' X 8' American flag for 26.2 grueling miles. For his unique and public support of the IMSFF, the MCCCK was proud to honor Brad S. Alsop of Louisville, Kentucky, with an engraved Marine Corps plaque, as the crowd echoed its approval with a standing ovation.

As the evening came to a close, the 2nd Marine Division Band performed a medley of patriotic songs, capped by Jennifer Scott's rendition of an original song "Sacrifice," written by her to honor our military and "God Bless the USA." With the crowd now standing at attention, the "Marines' Hymn" reverberated through the room as Marines, young and old, experienced that unique feeling of pride which only comes through the wearing of the eagle, globe and anchor.

Support for the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps" came from numerous people and in many different forms. In addition to the traditional sponsorships of tables, outright donations, and corporate partnerships defined by charitable discounts and donated products and services, which are hereinafter recognized, there was some unusual and inspirational support, which touched the hearts of event planners.  During March 2008, a legendary Marine Corps pilot, who flew Corsair and other fighter aircraft in support of ground troops engaged in heavy World War II combat in the South Pacific, passed from this life at Terre Haute, Indiana. Seeking a suitable manner in which to honor his father's memory, his son sought out the MCCCK and this event, and established the "Colonel John C. (Jack) Thornton Memorial Fund," through which donations in lieu of flowers, totaling $1,890.00, were donated for the benefit of injured and wounded Marines. Although not in attendance, Colonel Thornton's family was pleased to be part of this effort.

In another heartwarming story of support for the IMSFF, a lady with no known connections with or affinity for the Marine Corps, took it upon herself to train and run in the "Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon," through which she raised $1,970 from family, friends, and colleagues. It was her way of supporting our cause and we thank Ms. Shelley Frommeyer, who attended the "Salute" with her husband, for her dedicated effort and wonderful contribution.

In lieu of the more common wine goblets or beer mugs generally presented as favors at events of this type, a specially designed Marine Corps "challenge coin" commemorating this event and the dedication of all Kentucky Marines and friends of the Corps to the IMSFF was commissioned and struck. Tradition has it that "challenge coins" date back to World War I, as a symbol of organizational pride and unity. Today, "challenge coins" are given to individuals upon joining an organization, as an award to improve morale, or to commemorate special occasions.  As guests departed the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps" for home, they took with them a "challenge coin," as a small token of appreciation and symbolic recognition of their magnificent generosity and support.

As a state proud of its two legendary and historic flag raisers, Presley O'Bannon in 1805 at the Battle of Dern, Tripoli, while leading a contingent of Marines onto foreign soil for the very first time; and Franklin Sousley, who in 1945 gave his life for this nation on Iwo Jima, after helping to raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi, the MCCCK held high the flag once again during an unprecedented statewide effort of compassionate support for a worthy cause. Recognizing the significance of this event, Governor Steve Beshear issued an official proclamation declaring May 23, 2008 as "Semper Fidelis Day" throughout Kentucky.

The MCCCK was honored to have the following special guests in attendance at the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps:" MajGen Edward W. Tonini, USAF, Adjutant General of Kentucky; Honorable Martha Lane Collins, Former Governor of Kentucky; Honorable Larry Hopkins, Former United Sates Representative (Kentucky);  MajGen Stephen T. Johnson, USMC (Ret);  MajGen Richard A. Huck, USMC (Ret); RADM Thomas A. Dames, USN (Ret);  Mr. Thomas W. Baker, State Chairman, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR); Mr. Paul Frederick, Mr. Joseph Lane, and Mr. Troy Bowling, Iwo Jima Veterans; SgtMaj Thomas Crump, USMC (Ret), Pearl Harbor Survivor; MSgt Louis F. Drawdy, USMC (Ret), Senior Vice Commandant, Marine Corps League, Department of Kentucky;  Ms. Kathleen Drummond and Ms. June Rollings, Women Marines, World War II Veterans; and Sgt Chadwick Martin, USMC(Ret), Cpl Sean Cassedy, USMC (Ret), and Cpl Donald Huff, USMC (Ret), Recovering Combat Veterans.

Table sponsors and major donors were proud to host as their guests, Marines from the following Kentucky based units: Marine Corps Recruiting Station Louisville, to include the Officer Selection Office (Lexington); Marine Corps Detachment, Armor School, Fort Knox; Marine Corps Military Police Company A, Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Lexington; and Company E, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Fort Knox, as well as the 2nd Marine Division Band, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The MCCCK, on behalf of all Kentuckians, who have been privileged to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA) of a United States Marine, is indebted to the men and women of Keeneland Association, Inc., Lexington, Kentucky, for their patriotic support of the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps" throughout the years. Without their dedication to the charitable causes championed by Kentucky Marines, it would not have been possible to stage these wonderful nostalgic and successful events, celebrating the legendary heritage of our beloved Corps. Of particular note are the magnificent supportive services provided by Mr. Ed Blaser, Director of Security and Mr. G.D. Hieronymus, Director of Broadcast Services, and their entire staffs.

The warm hospitality extended to the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps" by Mr. Robert D. (Bob) Zielke and Mr. Michael Molloy, Crowne Plaza Lexington - The Campbell House, Lexington, Kentucky, as well as the entire staff, is deeply appreciated. For many, it was their "home away from home" and served as our "staging area," as various elements of the event assembled. Mr. Zielke and Mr. Molloy rolled out the red carpet for the 2nd Marine Division Band and we are extremely grateful to them and the beautiful and historic Crowne Plaza Lexington - The Campbell House for their support of the IMSFF and the MCCCK.

Thanks to the Co-Chairmen of the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps," Mr. James E. Bassett, III (Lexington) and Mr. David A. Jones (Louisville), who provided leadership, motivation and vision throughout, as well as to the Steering Committee for their months of steadfast dedication to our cause and precise execution of their responsibilities during the final planning phase: Donna S. Alcorn , Edmund V. Armento, David J. Breen,  Allen D. Broussard,  Robert V. Evans, Jr, Larry P. Griffin, Martin G. Hanse, Sr., Kenneth F. Herrington III, E. Scott Hoffman, Frank B. Hower, Jr., Kathleen Huck,   Richard A. Huck, Stanley H. Jones, Russell B. Scott, Jr., James G. (Jay) Taylor, Jr., and Stephen R. Wood

Special thanks to the following invaluable volunteers: Ms. Brigid Shea Taylor, who edited and prepared the dinner program for publication; and Ms. Henrietta Evans and Ms. Jennifer Armento, who served as hostesses, welcoming guests and assisting them with table assignments.

With the satisfaction of all expenses incurred during the planning and execution of the "Salute to the Legends of the Corps," the MCCCK is pleased to honor our wounded and injured warriors, with an unrestricted $250,000 donation to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, on behalf of all active, reserve, and veteran Marines within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund are profoundly grateful to the following Major Donors, Corporate Partners, and Table Sponsors, as well as to the many individuals too numerous to list, who made significant contributions, either through their attendance or generous support.

Major Donors

Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Adams
Maj Charles F. Austin, USMCR (Ret)
Mr. James E. Bassett III
Mr. Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr. Esq.
Mr. Carl Casper
Mr. Edward J. Cermack
Mr. Paul G. Cleaver
Ann and Stewart Cobb Family Fund
Dr. Robert W. Copelan
Col Millard Cox III, USMC (Ret)
MSgt Louis F. Drawdy, USMC (Ret)
In Memory of Hugh Lynch
Mr. James J. Drescher
Mr. John T. Fitzgerald
Col Wesley L. Fox, USMC (Ret)
Ms. Shelley Funke Frommeyer
Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon Fundraiser
Mr. and Mrs. Gary G. Gilmour
Mr. S. D. (Dale) Greene
Mr. and Mrs. John R. Hall
Mr. Martin G. Hanse, Sr.
Mr. Joseph L. Head
Mr. and Mrs. David J. Herbert
Mr. John Barker Hickox
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Hocker
Mr. Frank B. Hower, Jr.
MajGen Jerry D. Humble, USMC (Ret)
Mr. G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.
Mr. Bob Hutchison
McDonald's Prestonsburg Village Arch Inc.
Mr. James D. Jackson
Aesthetics in Jewelry
Mr. James K. Johnson
The Underwriters Group, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. David A. Jones
Mr. Johnnie Jones
Mr. Donald W. Layden
Ms. Carol Jones Levitch
Mr. and Mrs. Glenn S. Libbrecht
Mr. and Mrs. Boone Logan
Dr. and Mrs. C. Leslie Lovett
Mr. Thomas M. Loving
Ms. Marie E. (Eve) Main
Mr. Terry L. Mulkey, Sr.
Mr. Arthur I. McEwen
Mr. Michael T. McNeila
Mr. Milton O. Neal
Mr. W. Allen Northcutt
Mr. James A. Patterson
Mr. Merrill G. Peter
Mr. Timothy Peters
Mr. K. Derrick Powell
Mr. Rodney R. Ratliff
Mr. Robert W. Robinson
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. (Mike) Ryan
Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Schafer
Mr. and Mrs. Russell B. Scott, Jr.
Mr. Lee Smith
Col John C. (Jack) Thornton, USMCR (Ret)
Memorial Fund
Mr. Daniel G. Van Clief, Jr.
Mr. William T. White
Mr. John K. Whitty
Mr. Robert D. Zielke

Corporate Partners

Bill Straus Photography, Inc.
Brown-Forman Corporation
Bulleit Distilling Company
Community & Aztec Limousine Service
Crowne Plaza Lexington-The Campbell House
Freedom Dodge Lexington
Government Startegies
Geo C. Richards and Company
Keeneland Association, Inc.
Kentucky Trade Bindery
Louisville Numismatic Exchange, Inc.
MW Tux (Men's Wearhouse Formalwear)
National Distributing Company, Inc.
Oates Flag Company
Papa John's International, Inc.
PNC Financial Services Group
Preferred Marketing Solutions, Inc.
Print Works of Lexington
Symbol Arts, Inc.
Turf Catering Company
UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Table Sponsors

Ms. Donna S. Alcorn
Mr. John W. Ames
Mr. Edmund V. Armento
Mr. James E. Bassett III
Mr. James R. Bligh
In Memory of
1st Lt D.J. Barrett and 1st Lt John Joyce
K Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines
Killed in Action - Republic of South Vietnam

Maj David J. Breen, USMC (Ret)
Mr. Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr. Esq.
LtCol Albert J. Campbell, USMC (Ret)
Mr. Paul G. Cleaver
Col Robert V. Evans, Jr., USMCR (Ret)
Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC
Capt Larry P. Griffin, USNMC (Ret)
Mr. Martin G. Hanse, Sr.
1st Sgt Martin G. Hanse, Jr., USMC (Ret)
Col Kenneth F. Herrington III, USMC (Ret)
LtCol E. Scott Hoffman, USMC (Ret)
MajGen Richard A. Huck, USMC (Ret)
Mr. Philip W. Hughes
Humana Military Healthcare Services, Inc.
Mr. Daniel J. Hutcherson
Mr. and Mrs. David A. Jones
Mr. Stanley H. Jones
LtCol Darien L. Kearns, USMC (Ret)
Kindred Healthcare, Inc.
Ms. Nancy (Nana) Lampton
Lockheed Martin Tactical Missiles and Fire Control
Mr. Russell R. Louden
Marine Corps League, Dan Daly Detachment
Marine Corps League, Kentuckiana Detachment
Montford Point Marine Association
Mountjoy and Bressler, LLP
Mr. Arthur I. McEwen
PNC Wealth Management
Papa John's International, Inc.
Mr. David L. Parks, Jr.
Col Mac Reynolds, USMC (Ret)
Mr. Bernard D. Rosenthal
Mr. Phillip D. Scott
Mr. Russell B. Scott, Jr.
Mr. Frederick J. Seitz
Mr. Charles R. (Bob) Smith
United Parcel Service Airlines
Mr. Stephen R. Wood
Mr. Robert D. Zielke