I’m a passionate person so when I find something that is near and dear to my heart, I wholeheartedly invest my time in it. Thus is the case with the non-profit organization, Pin-Ups For Vets.
In a nut shell, PUFV is a wonderful project built around pin-up style calendars that are sold online. All of the money raised from these is then given to VA and Military Hospitals all over the US. Over $50,000 has been raised so far. The calendars are also given to Veteran men and women in VA Hospitals at their bedside as a morale booster. Along with volunteers, the founder of PUFV, Gina Elise, is currently on a 50 state tour doing exactly that.
So clearly, whenever I get a chance to volunteer with this project, I do so. If you know me at all, you’ll also know that I love music and going to concerts. Throw the two things together and you get one happy girl. Such was the case this past Saturday night.
On April 26th, at LA’s House of Blues, there was an all-star tribute show benefiting America’s Wounded Warriors of UCLA Operation Mend. Organized by the Thalians, it is their mission to raise the funds it will take to educate and enlighten the world about mental illness and eliminate the stigma attached to it. This was their 56th Gala and they raised $1 million by the end of the night.
Along with raising funds for UCLA Operation Mend, the event also honored all of the wonderful music that Smokey Robinson has written. He was even given the “Mr. Wonderful Award”. There were a number of musical legends in attendance that performed the Motown legend’s songs: the Multi-Platinum recording artist Guy Sebastian, Taylor Dayne, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Natasha and “Cheech” Marin, Florence LaRue of The 5th Dimension, Joy Enriquez, Bobby Arvon, Player, X Factor Sensation AKNU, along with Todd Schroeder and the Thalians Orchestra.
Fortunately, the attendees had their dancing shoes on because from the moment that Joy Enriquez opened the show and Guy Sebastian closed it, it was a nostalgic Motown dance party. While it was incredible to see these delightful performers on stage once again, I was very impressed with the Australian sensation, Guy Sebastian. After competing on the first Australian Idol 10 years ago, he has gone on to make quite the name for himself. Not only did he do Smokey proud when he sang his songs, he also belted a few of his own tunes out too.
Of course Robinson, the multi-Grammy® Award winner, and Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer, sat directly in front of the stage to witness all his musical magic take place.
This tribute had attendees mingling with celebrity guests, winning spectacular silent and live auctions, enjoying plentiful home-style buffets, scrumptious specialty food stations, all generously provided by Whole Foods Market, as well as gourmet desserts and full open bars. All of this was in the name of helping America’s true rock stars, America’s injured military veterans.