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As “Camouflage Wave” Sweeps Election Day, IAVA Heroes Gala Unites Americans

New York, NY (November 7, 2018) — Election Day 2018 produced a surprise good news story: an inspiring wave of post-9/11 veterans from both parties that won big in key races nationwide. From Governors races to the Senate, nearly 100 men and women who served in combat will now serve in elected office at the federal and state level. This “Camouflage Wave” of new leaders represents leadership, integrity and hope for millions nationwide.

Following this news, and the nastiest election of our lifetime, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will launch a historic “Veterans Month 2018” with the 12th Annual IAVA Heroes Gala tomorrow, November 8th, in New York City. The 2018 IAVA Heroes Gala will precede IAVA-hosted and supported “VetTogether” events happening nationwide for Veterans Day on Sunday, November 11th and throughout the month of November. That includes hundreds of IAVA members organizing, uniting and marching in the largest Veterans Day parade in America, in New York City on Sunday. Media are encouraged to join IAVA, meet our members and share their stories of inspiration, service and sacrifice at the Heroes Gala tomorrow and on Veterans Day Sunday. Details for the NYC Veterans Day parade can be found here.

The 2018 IAVA Heroes Gala will feature Late Show host Stephen Colbert, in some of his first public remarks following the historic election. IAVA will also honor Craigslist founder, philanthropist and IAVA Board member Craig Newmark with the 2018 IAVA Civilian Leadership Award, Marine veteran and actor Rob Riggle with the 2018 Veteran Leadership Award and Home Box Office (HBO, Inc.) with the inaugural 2018 IAVA Corporate Leadership Award.

In its groundbreaking 12th year, the IAVA Heroes Gala will be hosted by the dazzling Manhattan Classic Car Club at Hudson River Park’s Pier 76 in New York City, a bold new venue that embodies the modern, innovative and strong IAVA mission.

NBC’s Willie Geist will kick-off live coverage of IAVA’s Camouflage Carpet (instead of a traditional red carpet) sponsored by innovative fashion company JCRT at 6:30 ET. Camouflage Carpet interviews with heroic American veterans and notable guest will stream live on IAVA’s Facebook page–as will the entire powerful program starting at 7:30 ET. Media are welcome to join in-person or tune in online. Complimentary media tickets are available. Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with Jeremy Butler.

Also scheduled to appear and attend are Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, NBC’s Willie Geist, HBO and Westworld star, Jeffrey Wright, NFL veteran David Diehl, Stephen Kellogg and many other leaders from business, sports, politics, entertainment and the military.

Over the past twelve years, the IAVA Heroes Gala has established itself as the premier event of the Veterans Week calendar in America. It’s an event where national leaders of all industries are united. The event empowers IAVA in its support of post-9/11 veterans by raising millions of dollars for best-in-class advocacy and transition support service programs nationwide for over one million veterans. This year, the Heroes Gala will also celebrate and support IAVA’s historic Big 6 Advocacy campaign, which focuses on elevating veterans voices in the face of unprecedented politicization and achieving meaningful progress on 6 key issues:

1) Combating suicide among troops and veterans
2) Recognizing and improving services for women veterans
3) Defending the GI Bill
4) Reforming the VA
5) Driving support for burn pits and toxic exposures
6) Empowering veterans who want to utilize medical cannabis

Past honorees and distinguished guests have come from across the military, business, sports, entertainment and politics and include: Michael Bloomberg, Meghan McCain, Medal of Honor recipient Flo Groberg, Henry Kissinger, Shannon Sharpe, VA Secretary Robert McDonald, Rosanne Haggerty, Admiral Mike Mullen, Jon Stewart, Peter G. Peterson, General David Petraeus, Miss USA Deshauna Barber, Joan Ganz Cooney, Julian Bond, Roger Waters, David Gelbaum, Arnold Fisher, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta, Willie Geist, Wes Moore, J.R. Martinez, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Bill Hemmer, Rachel Maddow, Leslie Gelb, Coach Bill Cowher, Peter Berg, Norah Jones, Marc Roberge and OAR, Bob Woodruff, Skip Bayless, Harry Carson, Katie Nolan, Michelle Monaghan, Sebastian Junger, Clay Aiken and many more.

The 2018 IAVA Heroes Gala is sponsored by: Craig Newmark, Juul, Barbaricum, The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Western Asset Management, The District Communications Group, AbbVie, Heritage Strategies LLC, Reingold, Steve Tisch Family Foundation, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Family Foundation, HBO, The NFL Foundation, JCRT, Pax, Cerner, David&Goliath, Southwest Airlines, PBC, Morgan Stanley, TriWest, With Honor and more.

A small number of tickets are still available to the 12th Annual IAVA Heroes Gala online.

About IAVA: Called “the most important organization representing the new generation of veterans” by TIME Magazine, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the premier veterans advocacy and support organization on the planet. Every day, we fight for veterans. Hard. We are the tip-of-the spear non-profit engine of impact that connects, unites and empowers over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide. Founded by Iraq veteran Paul Rieckhoff in 2004, IAVA is the non-partisan leader in advocacy, public awareness and 1-on-1 case-management support. We organize locally, and drive historic impacts nationally.

IAVA is vanguard of the veterans movement and the most powerful network of veterans on the planet. We have connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided thousands of veterans of all generations with life-saving and life-changing personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s-level social workers.

We partner with all those who share our commitment to this generation of veterans—whether they’re Democrat, Republican, or independent. We’ve led in the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act and numerous other pieces of game-changing policy and legislative change. We’ve worked closely with the White House, Members of Congress, the Department of Defense (DoD), the VA, corporations, and other nonprofits to create powerful networks for impact. We’re a tough watchdog as well, holding political and media leaders accountable for failures to support our community. This year, we’ve listened to our members nationwide and prioritized what they want action on the most: our Big 6 Advocacy Priorities. These include: 1) combating suicide, 2) recognizing and supporting women vets, 3) defending the GI Bill, 4) reforming VA, 5) driving support and recognition of burn pit exposure and 6) empowering wounded veterans to utilize medical cannabis.

Our broader, comprehensive Policy Agenda includes a focus on homelessness, veteran employment, equality, service dogs, a national memorial for our generation and much more. This work is powered by IAVA’s incredible national membership and by our innovative Research Department, that uses real data to drive the development of scalable solutions to benefit veterans and their families. Through careful analysis of IAVA’s powerful annual member survey and continuous surveillance of data about service members, veterans and their families, IAVA’s Research Department informs the development of IAVA advocacy campaigns and programs and promotes accurate representations of veterans in the public discussion on the most important issues of our time.

We believe veterans are not a charity, we’re an investment. We know veterans are powerful source of hope, unite and impact. We are not damaged or broken. We are the future. We are #VetsRising. And we invite you to invest in our future, empower America’s next greatest generation of leaders and join our movement today.

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

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.