Military Ball

By Richard Mineards   |   November 7, 2019
Recipients of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation Generations of Service Award (photo by Priscilla)

A cavalcade of uniforms from all branches of the Department of Defense, including a red and gold dress outfit – complete with spurs – worn by a former Royal Welch Fusiliers officer who attended Sandhurst, the British version of West Point, descended on the cavernous Hilton ballroom for the 23rd annual sold-out Military Ball organized by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation.

Five hundred guests attended the boffo bash, co-chaired by co-founder John and Hazel Blankenship, which honored Women in Service. Singer David Gonzales sang both the National Anthem and “America the Beautiful.”

The Generations of Service Award went to the Reichel family whose service stretched from great-grandfather Alfred Julius Reichel’s enlistment in 1917 to his great-granddaughter Julie‘s graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 2009, including six family members who have served in the Air Force, Army and Navy.

Award-winning author Eileen McDargh was keynote speaker and presented Momma Was a Wasp, a look back into an untold story how 1,176 women flew for the military in World War II, with her mother, Mary Feinberg Burchard, one of three women in med school in the 1930s, who served as a test pilot with the Women Airforce Service Pilots – WASPS – who flew every kind of airplane manufactured in America.

The female pilots were considered “civilians,” lacking military honors and benefits. They were finally recognized in March, 2010, with the Presidential Gold Medal, long after it was due.

Among the deluge of defense denizens were sheriff Bill Brown, Dan and Meg Burnham, Lois Capps, Patty DeDominic, Peter and Hillary Hilf, Thomas Van Stein, Don Seth, Das Williams, John Palminteri, Hillary Hauser, Rick Carter, Bonnie Carroll, and Andy and Linda Caldwell.

Gen. Fred Lopez, keynote speaker Eileen McDargh, and Hazel and Lt. John Blankenship (photo by Priscilla)
Daniel and Meg Burnham, Lois Capps, LTC Jack Armstrong, US Army Ret., and Mary Lou Armstrong (photo by Priscilla)
Carol Conway, Hillary Slevin, Betty Lemley, Bob Haswell, Bruce Conway, Rick Haswell, Liz Saghi, Peter Hilf, Lynn Maguire, and Tom Griffin at the Military Ball (photo by Priscilla)
Laurie Lynch Cpt., Air National Guard, and Amy Meyer, Chief People Office of AppFolio (photo by Priscilla)
Donna Brown; Karen Mink; Travis Buehner, LTC; SBC Supervisor Das Williams; Gen. Bill Begert, USAF, Ret.; Bill McDargh; John Blankenship, USN Ret.; keynote speaker Eileen McDargh; Sheriff Bill Brown; and Katie Buehner (photo by Priscilla)
Carolyn Alexandra Wagfield announcing the “Salute to Our Armed Services ” led by representative Capt. Joe Danely (photo by Priscilla)

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