Veterans Advantage will host the fourth annual Heroes Meet Heroes, sponsored by Foot Locker, Inc., to provide an opportunity for U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their family members to meet face-to-face with world class competitors – many who have earned medals in the Olympic games – at the historic New York Athletic Club (NYAC) in Manhattan.
American heroes from the U.S. military and athletic communities – sharing the common traits of strength, resilience, and commitment to excellence – will spend their afternoon in the club's iconic Trophy Room, surrounded by awards won by the NYAC's world-class athletes. Those attending will enjoy free food and beverages while they meet with their heroic counterparts and listen to invited guest speakers: Scott Higgins, Veterans Advantage co-founder, CEO and a Vietnam War Army lieutenant; and Paul Bucha, Medal of Honor recipient, West Point Graduate and a Veterans Advantage Advisory Board Member.
"The New York Athletic Club has a storied tradition of supporting American athletes and fostering their Olympic success in becoming American heroes," said Lin Higgins, co-founder and COO of Veterans Advantage, who conceived of Heroes Meet Heroes in 2011 as part of Veterans Week NYC. "Veterans Advantage, the NYAC and our sponsor Foot Locker have created an event that celebrates the congregation of Olympic heroism with the heroism of our U.S. military."
In the past four years, attending athletes have included members of the U.S. women's water polo team who won Olympic gold in 2012, track and field star Amanda Bingson, former NFL star Cedric Jones, and Olympic gold medalist judoka Kayla Harrison. The athletes – who will be in residence for the annual NYAC All Sports Dinner – are all NYAC members who have trained at the club and are sponsored to compete in world championships, the Pan Am Games and Olympic Games.
"It's meant to be an opportunity for veterans and their families to meet these world-class athletes. Yet the Olympians, myself included, are just as eager to meet the veterans and hear their stories of service and sacrifice," said Donna de Varona, a two-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer and recipient of the Olympic order, who has served as master of ceremonies for the past three years. "It is a tremendously moving and absolutely unique event," she added.
Heroes Meet Heroes, sponsored by Foot Locker, is part of Veterans Week NYC. Endorsed by the city's Mayor Bill de Blasio, the week of events celebrates all veterans, military personnel and military families. Across New York City, they are recognized and honored at special shows, galas, symposiums, concerts and the annual Veterans Day Parade. The many activities take advantage of New York's cultural and historic venues, celebrating the U.S. military's proud history and prominence in American culture. The New York Athletic Club provides an appropriate setting for Heroes Meet Heroes, having been founded in 1866 by three veterans of the Civil War.
The New York Athletic Club is located at 180 Central Park South, New York City. The event will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Trophy Room and is open to all registered guests, including military members, veterans, military family members and those enrolled in Veterans Advantage. Guests are requested to enter the 58th Street entrance and business casual attire is required.
About The New York Athletic Club:
The New York Athletic Club, "NYAC", is located at the south end of Central Park at 7th Avenue. Established in 1868 by three Civil War veterans, the NYAC is the founder of amateur athletics in the United States and has produced top competitors in wrestling, judo, rowing, fencing, water polo and track and field among other sports. NYAC athletes have claimed 248 medals in Olympic competition, 131 of which have been gold. Of the 55 NYAC athletes who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, 17 won medals, 12 of which were gold.
About Veterans Advantage:
Veterans Advantage advocates for greater respect, recognition and rewards for U.S. military, veterans and their families with the creation and issuance of new service-related benefits provided by its coalition partner companies. Founded in 2000 by prominent Vietnam War veterans, Veterans Advantage and its partners – who are national retailers, travel industry leaders and insurance providers – deliver exclusive benefits, insurance, financial, and medical coverage and access to special services for its enrolled members. Eligibility for Veterans Advantage partner offers is verified using the VetRewards Card at point of sale locations nationwide, when shopping online, and by toll-free phone. More at VeteransAdvantage.com.