$108,000 raised at 4th Annual Salute: A Toast to Our Veterans
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (SPECTRUM NEWS) – With Veterans Day on Monday, the Rochester community is honoring the men and women in the military who serve and have served our country.
One event, in particular, raised a toast to our vets.
The fourth annual gathering of a celebration called “Salute: A Toast to Our Veterans” took place at the Strathallan Hotel Thursday evening.
CDS Monarch and the CDS Wolf Foundation, along with Warrior Salute Veteran Services, provide support for returning service members, especially those in need of trauma care and counseling.
Your Midday Rochester anchor Jim Aroune was the emcee for the event. Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant David Bellavia was the keynote speaker.
Bellavia says organizations supporting veterans are doing critically important work.
“The worst part of coming home is just, you don’t want to be treated differently. You don’t want people to look at you and think that because of your experience in war, somehow you’re going to be different when you come home. Being around people who have been there and done that and are basically guiding you along the way, it’s very similar to what we did in the military,” said Bellavia.
“This organization is basically simulating that exact same structure, to support people when they transition back to normalcy. It’s actually one of the most beautiful gifts and deserving organizations I can think of.”
Bellavia says it was 15 years ago Thursday that his platoon was involved in the second battle of Fallujah. Just a few days before the heroic actions that earned him the Medal of Honor.
He was thrust into the national spotlight after the medal ceremony when his name was floated as a replacement for former Congressman Chris Collins in New York’s 27th district. Collins pleaded guilty to insider trading and stepped down.
Bellavia announced earlier this fall he would not seek the seat in the 27th. On Thursday, he explained why.
“Is it great to be elected? Could I do the job? Is it attractive? I mean are you kidding me? Of course it is. I’ve worked for 10 years to get to this spot. But the award is what is making the difference, not 10 years of work, not 10 years of being a loyal Republican who is the future of a political party…it’s now, ‘medal of honor recipient’ is the future of something, and there are too many people that wore this and died for this to make it about that.”
Bellavia says he will continue his professional career with the Army – encouraging young people to consider the armed services to advance their careers.
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