Gold Medal Donation by Paralympics World Record Holder Brad Snyder Helps Navy Special Operations Foundation Exceed Fundraising Goals
Posted by Suzanna Fisher on June 7, 2018 8:45 PM EDT
Navy Special Operations Foundation raises nearly $100,000 and draws hundreds to its inaugural gala benefitting Navy Special Operations Personnel and their families.
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – On Saturday, June 2nd, Navy Special Operations Foundation (NSOF) partnered with Toyota for its Inaugural Gala held at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, raising nearly $100,000 to directly support Gold Star families, Wounded Warriors, and the NSO community.
NSOF welcomed more than 300 guests for an evening of captivating performances by Skylark and Pin-Ups on Tour, with a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind donations. Keynote Speaker Brad Snyder, 5-time gold medalist swimmer on the United States Paralympics team, donated one of his medals in a remarkable and inspiring gesture of his commitment to the foundation.
Brad Snyder, Navy Lieutenant, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Officer, author, and member of NSOF’s Advisory Board, was serving in Afghanistan when he lost his eyesight in an explosion while helping bombing victims. Only a few months later, in May 2012, Brad participated in the Warrior Games, winning 4 gold medals in swimming and 3 gold medals in track and field. The following month, Snyder became the 100 and 400-meter freestyle world leader among blind swimmers at the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Trials. Snyder went on to further defy the odds, setting both the Paralympic Record and the American record at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, winning both Gold and Silver medals in various competitions during the 2012 and 2016 Games.
During his keynote speech, Snyder said “it’s when communities leverage their collaborative efforts towards a cohesive goal - that’s where magic happens.” Magic certainly happened the evening of the gala as Brad Snyder’s donated Gold medal was auctioned off for an astounding $13,000.
Among the evening’s attendees was the Gold Star family of Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton. Navy Special Operations Foundation was founded in memory of Scott Dayton who was the first member of the American armed forces to be killed in combat in Syria. In his 23 years of service in multiple units and positions, Scott received 19 awards, including the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (7 awards), Combat Action Ribbon (2 awards). Scott is survived by his wife Kristin Dayton, daughter Haley Dayton, and son Cole Dayton.
Another honored guest was Lindsey Stacy, wife of Wounded Warrior Kenton Stacy. Ohio-native Kenton Stacy was on his 4th combat deployment as a member of an elite Navy EOD unit assigned to assist Special Forces in Syria when he was critically wounded. In November 2017, Stacy’s team was clearing boobytraps from a hospital that had been controlled by ISIS, before an improvised explosive device (IED) went off only a few feet away. The blast left Stacy quadriplegic and blind in one eye.
Kenton and Lindsey Stacy have 4 young children, making this a particularly challenging time for the family. To help ease the burden, Veterans United Home Loans in coordination with NSOF presented a check for $2,000 to Kenton Stacy’s family at the event.
The evening was a tremendous success for NSOF, thanks to Presenting Sponsor Toyota; Entertainment Platinum Sponsor and Keynote Speaker Brad Snyder; the evening’s Gold Sponsors: Shark Marine Technology Inc., Skydive Suffolk, and Towne Bank; Silver Sponsors: Hero Kids Foundation, Triumph Realty, Veterans Home United, and Red Plug Design Co.
The Silent Auction drew in supporters with over $35,000 raised, and a call-to-action at the Gala brought in an additional $14,000 in donations, exceeding the Foundation’s call-to-action goal of $10,000. Combined with other contributions and ticket sales, the foundation is now well positioned to increase its mission-based work.
Founded less than 6 months ago, Navy Special Operations Foundation has already provided over $10,000 in scholarships for Navy Special Operations youth summer camps, and over $20,000 in overall support to the NSO community. Planned events and special programming throughout the year like iFly Kids Day, and grants to transition support courses enhance the tight-knit community ensuring that operators and their families are provided with the tools necessary to overcome any challenges.
“We are humbled by the generous support of the hundreds of donors who joined us to advance the mission of the Navy Special Operations Foundation. The generosity of these individuals and businesses enables us to continue to strengthen our programs, providing unparalleled support to our operators and their families,” said Joe Cockrell, NSOF Executive Director.
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