CNN’s Jake Tapper hosted the black-tie gala which honored Dustin Perkins, Director of Marketing for Student Veterans of America – Illinois with the Veterans Education Awards; Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. with the Veterans Mental Health Award; Bunker Labs with the Veterans Employment Awards; National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) with the Veterans Community Awards; and Sarah Verardo, Executive Director for The Independence Fund with the Veterans Leadership Awards.
Two Honorary Veterans Awards were also presented to Steve Vincent and George A. Chewning, II. Jake Tapper was surprised with the Veterans Choice Award, a surprise honor which was chosen based on his relentless dedication and selfless service to the veteran community and their families.
The event was opened with remarks by David J. Shulkin, M.D, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Presenters included former Army Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer; TV personality Montel Williams, Shohreh Aghdashloo of Syfy’s The Expanse; Anne Heche, Mike Vogel and Sophia Pernas of the hit NBC series The Brave; and Matt Barr of CW’s Valor. Other VIP guests in attendance included Chief of Staff General John F. Kelly, Jack Scalia, Colton T. Smith, Kristin Beck, and Senator Dan Sullivan.