On a trip to Washington DC, The Friars Foundation elevated its already impressive philanthropic commitment in creating The Lincoln Awards, which honors the extraordinary individuals and companies committed to serving and supporting U.S. veterans and the military family.
The award was named after our 16th President, who issued a call for the care of the nation's veterans and their families during his second inaugural address 150 years ago, noting: 'With malice toward none, with charity for all... let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.'
Among the honorees were Bruce Springsteen, who’s been jamming gratis for veterans for decades and has a powerfully generous charity to boot. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, who has made major advances in bionic prosthetics for veteran amputees. Ken Fisher, who founded the Fisher House Foundation, which houses the families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans while they recover, Lieutenant Colonel Justin Constantine of the US Marine Corps, who has dedicated his life to raising funds for other veterans in distress, and Wal-Mart, that has publicly committed to hiring 100,000 veterans by 2018. There were ten award categories in all and each recipient was as awe inspiring as the next.
The Friars Foundation produced the show at the Kennedy Center on January 7, 2015, in front of 2,000 plus veterans and friends, with a stellar line-up of comedians and musicians that included Brian Williams, Gavin DeGraw, Nick Jonas, The Lone Bellow, Aloe Blacc, Rob Riggle and Whitney Cummings, along with veterans Harvey Keitel and Jerry Lewis. Heart-wrenching videos of the honorees were narrated by Alec Baldwin.
Friars proudly serving on the Lincoln Awards Advisory Board include Harry Belafonte, Jack Black, Tom Cruise, Allen Grubman, Larry King, Leslie Moonves, Don Rickles, Barbara Walters, Betty White, Elie Wiesel, Brian Williams and Bob Woodruff. This was not your typical awards show, but a group of respected entrepreneurs, newsmen and entertainers shining as bright a light as possible on a much needed, highly deserving group of caregivers.
Frank Sinatra, Abbot of the Friars Club from 1975 to 1996, said of the club, 'Their continuous good work for charity, rather than their many great triumphs on the stages of the world, is the true glory of this band of earthly angels known as the Friars.' The Lincoln Awards are a high water mark for both charity and triumph on the stage.
Full list of Award recipients is available here.