The annual Campbell Veterans Memorial Gala Dinner exceeded all expectations and proved to be one of the most memorable and inspiring events conducted in the fair City of Campbell during 2017. Generals, war hero legacies, and captains of industry attended this grand tribute to our respected veterans and those in current service. Appreciative smiles and tears of remembrance were the order of the day.
Master of Ceremonies, Mike Kotowski, launched this glittering event with poignant comments about our veterans and key audience members. Len Duncan, CVMF President, then regaled the audience with a lively summary of the organization’s key activities in 2017. He was especially proud of CVMF’s $1,000 donation to the Lone Star Veterans Association based in Houston, TX to help vets hurt by Hurricane Harvey.
Mr. Duncan then led the gathering in The Pledge of Allegiance. The initial rites of this celebration were concluded by a heartrending Invocation led by CVMF’s Chaplain, Sgt. Jim Clarke-Moore. These noteworthy recitals lifted hearts and set the table for the other actives on the agenda. Each subsequent frame was perfectly stage-managed.
The festivities continued when the Emcee introduced some of the esteemed guests in attendance. CVMF was honored to acknowledge: Linda Lezotte, Santa Clara County Water District; Lt. Col. Jason Noble, Professor of Military Science, Santa Clara University; Major General Ken Hillhouse(Ret) and John Lochner, Los Gatos Veterans Support Foundation; Melissa Cerea, West Valley College Veterans Center Director; and Ken Estep, Gold Star Parent.
To the surprise and absolute delight of the entire gathering, CVMF Chairman Emeritus, Jim Free, introduced two special guests who represent the very best in American military history. Accompanied by her proud daughter Jan Washington, a warm round of sustained applause greeted Mary Parks Washington as she stood to honor her heroic husband, Tuskegee Airman First Lieutenant Samuel Washington.
Lieutenant Washington served in the 301 Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group that was stationed in Ramitelli, Italy in 1944 during WW II. Lieutenant Washington died peacefully in 1981. This was an especially moving tribute since Mary and Jan Washington are long-time Campbell residents.
Of course, the star of the show was the Keynote Speaker, Colonel Dan Furtado (Ret). The Colonel is a Campbell native who graduated from San Jose State University and proceeded to build an illustrious career in the United States Army.
Dan served as a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve and commanded the Reserve Forces School at the Presidio, San Francisco and the 334th Medical Group in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters. Dan also graduated from the Army War College and retired as a Colonel in 2004.
Colonel Furtado transfixed the audience by explaining how successful American leaders employ four guiding principles to command military units or dynamic companies. Military commanders navigate the challenges of maintaining unit cohesion during times of war and peace by inspiring loyalty to country and the mission; espousing values of duty, honor, country, corps, and personal courage; projecting confidence and trust in subordinates; and providing continuing training and education for their charges.
Successful American businesses leaders use similar principles to guide their operations and work environments. Entrepreneurs and captains of industry are driven by purpose; inspire and elevate others; are animated by both courage and patience; and continue building operational muscle despite the inevitable boom and bust cycles.
This eclectic mix of shared values created a symbiotic success story that benefits all Americans on a daily basis. While the Department of Defense has a $72 Billion annual R&D budget to solve military problems, many of those products and concepts have a corresponding value in civilian life. Examples include infectious disease and vaccine research; advances in prosthetic mobility; improvements in traumatic brain injury evaluation; and enhanced traumatic injury treatment.
The members and Board of CMVF are deeply appreciative of the donations of financial support and in-kind gifts from prominent members of the community. CVMF would like to offer special acknowledgments to: Cooper Garrod Vineyards; The Tool Shed; Heritage Bank of Commerce; Jeff Crowe, Reps Printing; and Rob and Barbara Pedersen. (Click on full Donor List below)
The Campbell Veterans Memorial Gala Dinner concluded with warm handshakes, cheerful rounds of personal congratulations, and heartfelt pledges to stay connected above and beyond these special occasions.
CVMF extends our best wishes all for a grand Thanksgiving, a very Merry Christmas, and a safe and prosperous New Year.
We look forward to seeing all of you next year!