American Dream Tribute & Gala 2017

The Nantucket community comes together to celebrate our Heroes.
The Nantucket community comes together to celebrate our Heroes.

An incredible night in support of our heroes

It is a warm evening in early September and the Nantucket Boys and Girls Club is abuzz with last minute preparations for what has been coined the “island’s best night out.” Lights are dimmed, tables are set, and volunteers are hustling about while last minute details are finalized. The Holidays for Heroes American Dream Gala is about to begin and it is always an inspiring evening full of amazing stories, moving tributes, and a whole lot of American spirit.

The 2017 Gala, held on September 9th, was no less than spectacular. Guests registered for paddle numbers before making their way downstairs to enjoy hors-d'oeuvres and the silent auction with friends and family. As the lights dimmed, Bob Monahan took the stage to welcome attendees and introduce the event. Immediately following the Presentation of Colors by the VFW Color Guard, Tim Donley performed the national anthem as the room stood in appreciation. BJ Ganem provided a mission update on Holidays for Heroes and Service Dogs for Heroes before introducing our guest speaker, Jacob Schick. Schick, CEO of 22 Kill, an organization focused on reducing veteran suicide, delivered an inspirational message encouraging others to step up and serve their country, even if they were never in the military. BJ concluded the formal program by announcing Michael Lammey, founder of Safety Happens, as the 2017 American Dream grant recipient!

Tom Bresette kicked off the fundraiser portion of the program by reading a powerfully written piece entitled "Reflections" by Peg O' Donnell, a Gold Star Mom who participated in our Women in War event in March. Funds were raised through a paddle raise and live auction for our dual missions: the American Dream Grant and the Nantucket Experience. Through your generous support we were able to raise $450,211 to directly benefit our nation’s heroes by helping them follow their dreams and bringing their families to enjoy the respite and relaxation of Nantucket. Finally, The Resilients took the stage by storm. The Resilients' rendition of Hallelujah quieted the room before the band picked up the pace. The energy was undeniable as guests quickly made their way up front to dance and celebrate. It was the perfect ending to an incredible night!

It takes a village to make this event everything that it is, and there’s no way we could do it without the overwhelming generosity of the island. Thank you to everyone who attended, we hope you had a fantastic time. Holidays for Heroes would not be able to provide for our veterans to the same magnitude if it wasn’t for YOU! We cannot thank you enough, and we look forward to seeing you next year.