NEW YORK — Nov. 12, 2007 — Microsoft Corp., in partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO), put on a spectacular salute to honor the military community this Veterans Day. The centerpiece of the day was a private, complimentary performance of the 75th celebration of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Microsoft sponsored an entire performance of the Christmas Spectacular as a special thank-you to more than 5,500 troops and their families.
Earlier in the day Microsoft and the USO honored the winners of the Microsoft Above and Beyond Awards with a lunch at the Rainbow Room. The awards recognize the contributions of the military support community — friends, family and other individuals — who brighten the lives of U.S. troops and their families throughout the world.
Celebrities who took part in the day included actresses Connie Britton and Minka Kelly from the NBC show “Friday Night Lights”; actresses Joely Fisher, Selena Gomez, Ali Landry and Connie Stevens; Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling; actors Lenny Clarke, Mike Lombardi and Jim McCaffrey and actresses Sherri Saum and Callie Thorne from the FX Networks show “Rescue Me”; Miss Teen USA, Hilary Cruz; Miss USA, Rachel Smith; and Miss Universe, Riyo Mori.
“The holidays are a time for family and sharing, and Microsoft is pleased to help make the season brighter for those who are giving so much,” said Curt Kolcun, vice president of the federal division at Microsoft. “We hope to make this Veterans Day a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience for our service members, volunteers and their families, all of whom give so much for our nation.”
“The USO is proud to partner with Microsoft to deliver such a wonderful day for our service members and their families,” said Brian Whiting, executive director of the USO of Metropolitan New York. “This day and the awards shine a much-needed spotlight on the inspiring service of those who serve our military community.”
At the Rainbow Room event, celebrities presented the following Microsoft Above and Beyond Awards:
Landry presented the Effort Award to Patti Patton-Bader of Pasadena, Calif. Patton-Bader, a mother of a soldier, started a group for volunteers to “adopt” soldiers. The group has now sent tens of thousands of care packages and hundreds of thousands of letters to make sure no soldier is forgotten while serving.
Britton, Kelly and Palicki presented the Medical Attention Award to Walter Fricke of St. Louis Park, Minn. Fricke, a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, created a network of more than 500 volunteer aircraft owners and pilots who have joined in the effort to reunite wounded service members with their families.
Cruz, Mori and Smith presented the USO Promotion and Success Award to Paulette Nelson of Savannah, Ga. Nelson staffs the Savannah airport’s USO station, and from Hunter Army Airfield she makes sure every soldier gets a warm welcome and a warm send-off.
Gomez and Schilling presented the Youth Leadership Award to Brittany and Robbie Bergquist of Norwell, Mass. The Bergquists have raised nearly $1 million toward the donation of more than 450,000 phone cards equaling 2.5 million minutes of talk time.
Cast members of “Rescue Me” presented the Everyday Difference Award to U.S. Maj. Todd Schmidt of Burke, Va. Schmidt has organized donors and volunteers to send hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of textbooks, school supplies and secondhand clothes to people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.
Corporations such as Dunkin’ Brands Inc. also saluted the troops and their families during the day, through contributions such as coffee and hot chocolate during the Radio City performance.
Dunkin’ Donuts brand president Robert Rodriguez said, “Our military veterans and our active servicemen and servicewomen have made, and continue to make, great personal sacrifices in serving and protecting our country and way of life. Today, we are proud and humbled to honor these brave Americans, as well as their families, who constantly give so much to keep us safe. We are forever grateful.”
About the USO
For more than 66 years, the USO (United Service Organizations) has been providing morale, welfare and recreational services to U.S. military personnel and their families. The USO (www.uso.org) is a nonprofit, charitable organization, relying on the generosity of the American people to support its programs and services.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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