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Willie Geist of NBC News and MSNBC to Headline Tenth Annual IAVA Heroes Gala

NEW YORK, NY– Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) announced the honorees for the 10th Annual IAVA Heroes Gala, held the day before Veteran’s Day, November 10, 2016 at New York City’s Cipriani 42nd Street. Willie Geist, host of NBC News’ “Sunday TODAY” and co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” will return to host the gala. Special Guest Presenter Retired General David Petraeus will honor Les Gelb, Ken Fisher Patrick Murphy and our country’s newest generation of veterans and their supporters. The Heroes Gala recognizes individuals who have demonstrated tremendous courage, leadership and support of the 2.8 million strong veterans’ community.

“IAVA along with our Board of Trustees and 2016 Gala Chair, Bruce Mosler, is extremely excited to honor Les Gelb, Ken Fisher and Patrick Murphy for their incredible contributions to the veterans community,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “Each fall we look forward to the Heroes Gala, where we celebrate our new greatest generation of veterans and those who have shown the utmost support for them. This year, our 10th annual gala will be a night to remember with IAVA friend and supporter Willie Geist hosting and IAVA Board Member David Petraeus serving as Special Guest Presenter. We are grateful for the opportunity to honor Les Gelb with the Lifetime Achievement Award for being a stalwart advocate and supporter of the veteran community. Under Secretary Murphy possesses a deep commitment to the veteran’s community, of which he is a proud member. This commitment is sharpened by his deep rooted patriotism and service as a Captain in the 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad, Iraq, and we are honored to recognize him. Ken Fisher is a dynamic business leader with a passion for philanthropy who has also dedicated himself to working to propel support and empowerment of our nation’s veterans through the Fisher House Foundation and by serving as the co-chairman of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and Chairman of the Organizing Committee for Invictus Games 2016.”

Veteran Leadership Honoree, Patrick J. Murphy was appointed as the 32nd Under Secretary of the Army and Chief Management Officer (CMO) by President Obama on Jan. 4, 2016 and in this capacity leads the management and operation of the Army. His focus is on dynamic and efficient business operations, transforming the Army to be more innovative and responsive, expanding the Soldier for Life initiative, public-private partnerships, and aggressively utilizing social media to tell the Army story to new audiences in a more compelling way. 

Mr. Murphy served as the first Iraq War Veteran elected to the U.S. Congress, representing the Eighth Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Murphy has co-authored several initiatives including the 21st Century GI Bill, the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and Hire Our Heroes legislation. In 2008, he was instrumental in establishing the Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery for over 300,000 veterans. 

Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree, Dr. Les Gelb has served his country in several governmental positions. Dr. Gelb served as an Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs in the Carter administration and as Director of Policy Planning and Arms Control in the Defense Department during the Johnson Administration. 

Dr. Gelb also had a distinguished career at the The New York Times holding the positions of diplomatic correspondent, national security correspondent, deputy editorial page editor, editor of the op-ed page and columnist. As national security correspondent, Dr. Gelb was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism.

Dr. Gelb has served as senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Dr. Gelb has also been a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University and Columbia University. 

From 1993 to 2003, Dr. Gelb served as President of the Council on Foreign Relations and now serves as President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow at the Council. 

Civilian Leadership Honoree, Kenneth Fisher is a senior partner at Fisher Brothers, based in New York City, and is part of the third generation of leadership, overseeing the leasing, management and marketing of more than five million square feet of class-A commercial space in Midtown Manhattan. 

As a philanthropist, Mr. Fisher is Chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that constructs “comfort homes” for families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans.  The program has built over 60 houses in the United States and Germany, and partnered with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Help for Heroes to open a Fisher House for British Families in the United Kingdom.  

Mr. Fisher has been awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the George C. Marshall Award from the Association of the United States Army, the Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service and the Secretary’s Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs, its highest honor. 

IAVA 2016 Gala Chair, Bruce E. Mosler is Chairman of Global Brokerage of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the world’s largest independent real estate services firm. Mr. Mosler, who also served as CEO of the firm from 2005-2010, advises major tenants and investors on strategic real estate matters, taking a senior role in managing and developing key client relationships on behalf of Cushman & Wakefield on a global basis. Mosler continues to advise Brookfield Properties, Vornado, JP Morgan Chase, NYU University Hospital (The Langone Center), Citigroup, Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn NETS and MetLife, amongst others. 

Each year, IAVA recognizes individuals who have shown an immense dedication to the veterans community. Past honorees include: Admiral Mike Mullen; Jon Stewart, former host of ‘The Daily Show;’ Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the Blackstone Group and founder of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; Joan Ganz Cooney, co-founder and visionary of Sesame Workshop; David Gelbaum, CEO of Entech Solar and founder of the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund (IADIF); Van Toffler, President of MTV Networks; Arnold Fisher, Senior Partner of Fisher Brothers; Staff Sgt. Sal Guinta, Medal of Honor recipient; Michael Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor; Wes Moore, best-selling author and Army veteran; J.R. Martinez, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ winner and veteran; Raymond Kelly, NYPD Commissioner; Leslie Gelb, President of the Council on Foreign Relations; Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Bill Cowher, coach and Super Bowl champion; Nora Jones, singer; Marc Roberge, lead vocalist of OAR; and Bob Woodruff, Honorary Chairman of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and ABC News anchor. 

The IAVA 10th Annual Heroes Gala is made possible by sponsors Craig Newmark and Craigconnects, Victory Motorcycles, Western Asset, Barbaricum, Cushman & Wakefield, Emergent BioSolutions, Jones Lang LaSalle, MSNBC, PBC USA, WME | IMG, Vencore, Hero Clean, Oscar Mike, HBO Inc, The Katz Family Foundation, USAA, Fox Sports 1, The District Communications Group, Fried Frank, CNN, Legg Mason, Wounded Warrior Project, Retail Ready Career Center, and Morgan Stanley.  

Tickets will be available to the 10th Annual IAVA Heroes Gala online or contact IAVA at or 212-982-9699. To become a sponsor of the Heroes Gala please complete our online sponsorship form.



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