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Black Tie International:
Step Up For Vets Provides Wounded Warriors
with Unique Holiday Experience



Step Up 4 Vets Provides Wounded Warriors
with Unique Holiday Experience


Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Treated To
 Balloon's Eye View of Macy's Parade

Photos by:  Ann Watt



Patricia Kennedy & The  Kids

Patricia Kennedy & The  Kids

Brothers Major Neal Smiley, Capt. Scott Smiley, Patricia Kennedy  & Stephen Smiley

Brothers Major Neal Smiley, Capt. Scott Smiley,
Patricia Kennedy  & Stephen Smiley

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families had the opportunity to view one of New York's legendary traditions, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 25, from a prime perch overlooking Times Square at a special champagne brunch hosted by Los Angeles philanthropist, arts patron and injured vets activist
Patricia Kennedy
, founder of Step Up 4 Vets. The veterans, their spouses and children had an eye-popping view as the balloons passed by the windows. For many it was their first time seeing the parade and for several families, it was their first family outing in many months.


There were squeals of delight when such familiar figures as Snoopy, Shrek and Spiderman flew by - within almost arm's reach. For the older kids it was Kanye West that had them pressed to the windowpanes. But the biggest thrill of them all was to have their fathers home for the holidays.

For the last three years, Kennedy, a long time patron of dance has successfully bought at auction at the Career Transitions For Dancers Annual Jubilee, the brunch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from their offices overlooking Times Square.

As she has done with Career Transitions For Dancers Jubilee Gala, her guests were not captains of industry but America's most devastatingly wounded warriors. Kennedy says, "They never got a parade when they came home so Step Up 4 Vets and Macy's is saying 'Thank you' for your service on Thanksgiving Day.".

Alexander Dube, Executive Director Of Career Transition for Dancers and his staff turned their conference into a balloon and toy filled romper room for the children who wrote notes to Santa or messages of peace on balloons which they later tossed out the window when Santa passed by. Capt. Scott Smiley who laws blinded by a VBIED in Iraq had a poignantly simple request written on his balloon " Eyes" to see the twin sons he has never seen before .
It was hard to tell who was enjoying the morning affair more - the children or Kennedy and the rest of the adults. The veterans and their families dined on a lavish brunch buffet of champagne, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, bagels and pastries.

Many of the vets are part of The Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Keller Army Medical Center and from IAVA, (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America). Kennedy launched Step Up 4 Vets in 2008 to partner in the transition of injured veterans as they readjust, rebuild and redirect their lives.

For Kennedy it was a special joy as she believes deeply in the restorative powers of such experiences to help re-establish normalcy in lives disrupted by war. She founded Step Up 4 Vets to help injured Vets transition to civilian life. She designed the Peace One Earth medallion in 2008 to honor their service and sacrifice. In recognition of her enormous charitable efforts and philanthropy she was invested Dame of Merit with Star in the Scared Military Constantinian Order of St George.


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