Despite a howling storm that whipped through New York Harbor, toppling trees in Battery Park, just moments before guests of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor Awards were set to board ferries, the gala evening honoring the contributions of a variety of Americans to our country went off with military precision and without incident. Westhampton Beach‘s Marvin Scott emceed the event and kept it all rolling.
Philanthropist, dance patron and veterans activist Dame Patricia Kennedy was honored for her years of service to the arts, in particular, the Joffrey Ballet and Career Transition for Dancers and her founding of Step Up 4 Vets; actress Mia Farrow for her humanitarian efforts for the United Nations; Congressman Peter King for his congressional record and work on behalf of homeland security and the legendary Dionne Warwick for her 50-year career and strong support in the fight against AIDS. Actor Danny Masterson, who was joined by Bijou Phillips, and Olympian Brian Boitano were also honored.
While the celebrity attendees were greeted warmly by all, Dame Kennedy was swarmed by high-ranking military, including a half dozen generals who applauded her efforts to help Iraq & Afghanistan wounded veterans reconnect, readjust and rejoin their civilian lives via family events that make up for all of their missed holidays while on deployment. As the couture clad Kennedy quipped to one medal laden officer, “It was easier than I thought, making the transition from ballet slippers to combat boots.”