The Got Your Back Network was honored to be able to once again plan, organize and implement the Fourth Annual Project Gratitude event which brought twenty wives and daughters of fallen heroes to the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. The highlight of their VIP visit was walking across the Miss America stage during a ceremony Saturday evening January 12th when each was “pinned” by former Miss Americas with a crown pin, symbolizing their status as the newest honorary Miss Americas.
The guests traveled from around the country into Las Vegas Thursday January 10, courtesy of American Airlines. They were guests of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, participated in many exciting excursions including a photoshoot at the El Dorado Mines, the Rock of Ages show at the Venetian and dinner at Rattlecan. Our VIP families were then royally pampered at the Canyon Ranch Spa on Saturday just in time to watch Miss New York, Mallory Hagan, crowned the 92nd Miss America from their VIP seats.
“It’s been an honor to be a small part of Project Gratitude over the last three years. These incredible families have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There are no words or deeds that could properly thank them but it is nice to, at the very least, show them our love and gratitude in this way”, explained Chris Harrison who stopped by and surprised the families during their welcome dinner Thursday night.
Project Gratitude was started out of a deep, heartfelt sense of gratitude and highest respect for the ultimate sacrifice that was made by our nation’s fallen heroes and their families”, explains Sharlene Hawkes, former Miss America and President of Remember My Service Productions. “On behalf of the former Miss Americas, it is a tremendous privilege for each of us to pay tribute to our “Gold Star” Miss Americas by folding them into our ranks. No one is more deserving of being called “Miss America” than they are. We are honored by their presence and hope to show them our gratitude with a very royal weekend.”
The chairman of Project Gratitude is Kathleen Gagg, Director of Lifestyle Management for Pope Properties in Sarasota, Florida and also serves as Executive Director of the Got Your Back Network and Co-Founder of Camp Better America. Kathleen, along with Got Your Back Board Member Shana Smith, have organized a group of incredible volunteers and sponsors to support the tribute each year. “Project Gratitude continues to be a program where many experiences are shared, friendships are gained and many precious memories are made to last a lifetime for these amazing families. I am so humbled to be part of this amazing event and do my part to help return the salute to these deserving families”, stated Kathleen Gagg.
Art McMaster, President and CEO of The Miss America Organization stated, “It is with such great pride that we honor these beautiful families who have given the ultimate sacrifice to our country. On behalf of the Miss America Organization we deeply thank them for their selfless dedication to the military and we are so proud to have them join us as we crown Miss America 2013.”