Wednesday, November 11, 2015

IAVA Leads Nation's Largest Celebration of Post-9/11 Veterans

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following today:

NEW YORK, NY (November 11, 2015) – During Veterans Week (Nov. 9 – 13), post-9/11 veterans, families and civilian supporters of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will participate in more than 140 Veterans Day community events across the nation. In New York City, more than 800 IAVA members and supporters will march in the New York City Veterans Day parade with high-profile veteran members from across the country joining IAVA’s Heroes Gala on Nov. 12 with special guest Stephen Colbert and host Willie Geist. Veterans Week 2015 comes on the heels of a historic vote in New York City to establish a Department of Veteran Affairs for the city’s 230,000 veterans.

“We have an important message for everyone this Veterans Day: Vets are rising,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and CEO. “Post-9/11 veterans are entrepreneurs, business executives, community leaders and philanthropists. This holiday is a chance for the country to honor the contributions of more than 2.8 million veterans who have shouldered the burden of two wars and returned home to bring their special brand of civic pride to communities across the country. Every day should be Veterans Day, and IAVA hopes to continue that spirit and support all through the year by promoting the #VetsRising message.”
Veterans Day is an official holiday for the federal government and for all 50 states. However, for too many veterans in the private sector, Veterans Day is just another workday. For many veterans, and civilians who wish to thank the vet community, Veterans Day cannot be properly recognized and celebrated as the special day it is. IAVA encourages all citizens to sign its petition calling on all employers to help honor our nation’s veterans by giving their employees a day off on Veterans Day.

Before marching in the New York City Veterans Day Parade, more than 800 IAVA members will gather at 23rd Street in front of the historic Flatiron Building for breakfast beginning at 9 a.m. IAVA is proud to be joined by longtime partners Victory Motorcycles,, NASCAR driver Cale Conley and Creative Artists Agency. IAVA members will be riding Victory Motorcycles in the parade and Conley’s car, the #14 IAVA Toyota Camry will be rolling along Fifth Avenue surrounded by IAVA members.

They will depart at noon and move north on Fifth Avenue. The marchers will finish at 59th Street and move to a reception at St. Bart’s Church, 325 Park Ave, from 2 to 5 p.m. The reception will also include useful information for vets on accessing the New GI Bill and IAVA’s Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) – which connects vets with housing, education, mental health, legal and other services. IAVA is proud to join parade organizers, the United War Veterans Council and parade Grand Marshal Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan District Attorney from 1975 through 2009 and World War II Navy veteran.  Film and Television Executive Producer and IAVA Board Member Norman Lear will serve as Honorary Marshal for the parade.

On Nov. 12, in New York, IAVA will host its Ninth Annual Heroes Gala. Veterans of all generations from across America will gather as IAVA presents the 2015 IAVA Veterans Leadership Award to Army Veteran, Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, college and pro football player Daniel Rodriguez. The 2015 IAVA Civilian Leadership Award will be presented to Scott Wine, Chairman and CEO of Polaris Industries and a Navy veteran. Willie Geist, co-anchor of NBC’s “TODAY” show and MSNBC’s
“Morning Joe,” will host the event. Longtime IAVA supporter Stephen Colbert will provide remarks as a special guest.

The IAVA 9th Annual Heroes Gala is made possible by Hero Sponsor, Craig Newmark and Craigconnects, and sponsors Victory Motorcycles, Discovery Networks, American Heroes Channel, Legg Mason Global Asset Management, WME, NBA Cares, USAA, DAV, HBO, Morgan Stanley, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Bill Tovell, Fried Frank, PBC USA Investments Inc.,  Barbaricum, Vencore, Halfaker and Associates, Retail Ready Career Center, Inc., Michael Leven,  Western Asset Management Company, Hero-Clean, The District Communications Group, Salesforce, American Federation of Government Employees  (AFGE), Cushman & Wakefield, Jones Lang LaSalle, Patients Like Me, JP Morgan Chase, and MSNBC.

More information on the Heroes Gala can be found here. Those who cannot attend the Gala in person can watch highlights of the event on the American Heroes Channel.

Note to media: Email or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA has repeatedly received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.