GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Megan Tatu participated in the “Keeping the Promise” annual symposium banquet sponsored by the California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance on May 13, 2013 held at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove, Calif.
The event's theme, “Keeping the Promise” is taken from Pres. Lincoln's second inaugural address and serves as a salute to all veterans and active-duty service members.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Megan Tatu, left, the commanding general of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), U.S. Army Reserve, leads more than 100 recruits in the Oath of Enlistment at the “Keeping the Promise” annual symposium banquet sponsored by the California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance at the Hyatt Regency in Garden Grove, Calif., May 13, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Corey Beal)
The CDVBA, and its support team, hold this event to assist veterans in successfully transitioning to civilian life through entrepreneurship. The banquet also serves as a platform to honor military service and individuals who patron on behalf of veterans.
The event hosted a crowd of more than 500 attendees consisting of a multitude of pro-veteran businesses, entertainers, athletes, and private citizens. Also in attendance as honored guests were service-members and veterans of all branches, as well as approximately 100 recruits who swore the oath of enlistment during the banquet.
The banquet began with the National Anthem, an invocation, and the Pledge of Allegiance which was led by Army Veteran and former Welterweight Champion Armando Muniz.
Welcoming remarks were served by CDVBA President Ken Shoemake, which were followed by an introduction of Tatu. Tatu took the stage and thanked all those who have served and those there honoring that service with action.
“Our service-members and veterans have sacrificed to keep our country and everything it represents safe, and free,” said Tatu. “When I look out into the crowd, I see the faces of those that honor and serve those men and women by fulfilling President Lincoln's promise, ‘to care for him who shall have borne the battle'.”
Tatu continued with the importance of veteran assistance.
“Whether providing a product or a service, there can never be too many resources developed to assist our wounded warriors,” said Tatu. “Many veterans choose to start their own businesses after leaving the military. Resources that assist veterans with entrepreneurship goals, including student loans, government contracting set-asides, networking conferences, tips and other information are priceless commodities.”
At the conclusion of her remarks, Tatu called upon Army Lt. Col. Don Gonneville, retired, to join her as she swore in the legion of citizens waiting to officially become U.S. military service-members. Gonneville, himself a distinguished Special Forces Veteran of Viet Nam, had served as the previous president of the CDVBA and is recognized as one of the architects of the Disabled Veteran's program in California.
The audience fell silent as Tatu led the recruits in the Oath of Enlistment, which then exploded with applause and cheers at the concluding line of ‘so help me God.'
Tatu later said, “For me it doesn't get any better than being afforded the privilege of swearing-in more than 100 new recruits from all over the state who are joining the ranks of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – it's just simply a tremendous honor.”
The banquet continued with dinner and mingling between all the attendees. Multiple entertainers mixed through the crowds to speak with veterans, advocate on their behalf and show their continued support. Just a few in attendance were Jon Voight, Tony Shalhoub, Leslie Ann Warren, Michelle Phillips, Lorenzo Lamas, Patrick Kilpatrick, Kurt Yager, Kelly Wu, and Jeff Ross.
Two KISS impersonators, in full costume including 12-inch platform shoes, also walked through crowds. Their presence was met with confusion until it was announced that Gene Simmons along with KISS has donated more than a million dollars to veteran organizations over the years. Their support to veteran-causes embodied much of the unknown efforts by many of the well-known names present at the banquet.
At the heart of the event beyond the marquee names were the programs, organizations and businesses who were there to assist veterans in their own entrepreneurship said Tatu.
“Thanks to an increasing number of programs like the DVBA, and organizations like the California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance, who place a priority on matching veterans with self-employment opportunities and innovation, hope and help are rising,” said Tatu. “The more businesses continue to actively support the entrepreneurial development of our veteran population and their families, the more these highly skilled individuals will be able to contribute to America's well-being, both on the battlefield and in the civilian workforce.”
By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Corey Beal
Provided through DVIDS
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