The All American Inaugural Ball is a tribute to the myriad of American Heroes who sacrfice on behalf of others every day. At the Ball, we recognize and honor various distinguished citizens for their outstanding and tireless work in their respective fields of civic service.
These honorees will be receiving the All American Hero Award at the All American Ball. This list will be updated with additional honorees soon; check back often.
Congressman Mike McIntyre is a senior member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee. He currently serves as the top Ranking Member of the Sea Power and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee and is also a member of the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.
In 2008, Rep. McIntyre was awarded the National Legislator of the Year for his work advocating on behalf of our nation’s veterans. The award, presented to the Congressman on behalf of the National Association of Veterans County Service Officers states, “…for your outstanding service, patriotism, and continued support for the veterans of our great nation, and for never letting Congress forget the sacrifices that our service men and women, past, and present, made for our nation and for always putting veterans first.” Congressman McIntyre also received the All-American Hero Award for his work on behalf of our nation’s veterans in January 2009.
The National Guard Association has presented the congressman the prestigious Charles Dick Medal of Merit for his outstanding work on behalf of the National Guard and our national defense. The Air Force Association and the Association of the U.S. Army have both recognized his efforts on their behalf. Congressman McIntyre has represented the House Armed Services Committee on the U.S. Naval Academy’s advisory board. He is also Co-Chairman of the Special Operations Forces Caucus. Because of his steadfast commitment to all branches of our military, The Military Officers' Association of North Carolina has conferred upon Congressman McIntyre Honorary Life Membership.
Rep. McIntyre is Co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, the Task Force on Responsible Fatherhood, and the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports.
In addition to his work on behalf of veterans and our servicemen and women, Congressman McIntyre won the top honor in Congress in the following key areas:
Mr. Butts is a true, life long American Hero! Mr Butts is the founder of the Military Art Tour and Military Musical Tribute as well as the founder of After Action Report TV show, all dedicated to helping our troops, veterans and their families. Mr. Butts served as a forward observer and radio operator out of Delta Battery Second Battalion Twelfth Marines (2/12). Mr. Dennis Butts was awarded three Purple Heart Medals, Presidential Unit Citation for Valor, Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry, among other medals and awards while fighting in the DMZ. As an FO out of Delta Battery 212 he was attached to First Battalion Ninth Marines (1/9) the famed Walking Dead. Mr. Butts served at Con Thien and Gio Linh the two most forward positions (OP1 and OP2) in South Viet Nam with Delta Battery 2/12. Mr. Butts has dedicated his life to helping our troops, veterans and their families. Mr. Butts is Chairman of Military Comm Networks, Military Association Benefits Group and Military Entertainment Group.
Arthur Rizer is a veteran of the War in Iraq and currently serves as a Federal Prosecutor for the Department of Justice. He enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and received a commission after college, becoming an Armor officer and later a Military Police officer. Arthur later went to law school, and deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a combat arms officer. Although an Army officer, Arthur was attached to the 1st Marine Division in Fallujah, and was embedded with a battalion in the Iraqi Army’s Special Forces Division training the Iraqi soldiers.
On August 22, 2005, Arthur was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and then Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The IED wounded 3 Americans and 16 of the Iraqi soldiers with them, most of who succumbed to the burns they received. Throughout his 15-month deployment he saw many horrors of war, including the death of several of his friends. Yet through it all, Arthur was amazed by our nation’s young Americans; they are asked to do incredible things every day, and they do it, no questions asked.
Today Arthur is a Federal Prosecutor for the Department of Justice and will soon begin his new career as an Associate Professor of Law at West Virginia University.
Monte Bernardo is a Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army, and he was serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was critically injured by an IED on July 4, 2012. Monte lost both of his legs and one of his arms in the explosion. Thankfully, he did not sustain any head trauma or injury to his brain. Thanks to his amazing strength and the quick and heroic work of his fellow soldiers, Monte has been transported to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to begin his long journey toward recovery.
Monte grew up in Petaluma, California, before joining the Army in 2006. Monte is a great patriot, and he has always believed in noble causes. As many know, he would give the shirt off his back to help others and is an amazing person. His smile and attitude always brighten a room, and people are drawn to him. He is one of a kind and is always the first to selflessly volunteer. Monte is a proud father of an eleven-year-old daughter. She is the light of his life and he is always so excited to talk about her accomplishments.
Justin volunteered for deployment to Iraq in 2006, and served in al-Anbar Province as a Team Leader of a group of Marines performing civil affairs work while attached to an infantry battalion. While on a routine combat patrol, Justin was shot in the head by a sniper. Although the original prognosis was that he had been killed in action, Justin survived. Since his injury, Justin has worked for the Department of Justice and also on Capitol Hill as counsel with the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Two years ago he accepted a position as an attorney with the FBI working on counterterrorism issues. Earlier this year he launched his own speaking business, which is his true passion, and speaks at numerous military, educational and corporate events about the value of a positive attitude, teamwork and community values in overcoming adversity.
Justin was the Honor Graduate of his class at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and was recently selected for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Wounded Warrior Project as well the Give An Hour Foundation. Two months ago he began a night program at Georgetown University pursuing an advanced law degree. He has been invited to the White House on several occasions and has been honored by numerous groups; the Virginia Legislature recently passed House Joint Resolution 211, a commending resolution highlighting Justin’s continued support of veterans and other wounded warriors. Justin was the commencement speaker last month at James Madison University’s December graduation ceremony, and has also been featured in magazines and programs such as CNN, Fox News, Men's Health, the Huffington Post and the Atlantic.
Todd Bowers currently serves as a Vice President in the JP Morgan Chase & Company office of Global Philanthropy focusing on Military and Veteran Affairs. In this role, it is his responsibility to ensure that an effective giving strategy is implemented firm wide providing the most effective support to veterans and military families with respect to housing, employment and education. Bowers has served four voluntary tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and South America as a Civil Affairs Team Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps Reserve. On October 17, 2004, during his second tour, Bowers was wounded in Fallujah when a sniper bullet hit the scope on top of his rifle and exploded in his face. He suffered shrapnel wounds during the incident and hearing loss in his left ear, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal with a combat "V" for valor.
Mrs. Perea Blackmon began her teaching career 21 years ago with the District of Columbia Public Schools. She earned her Bachelors Degree from the University of Maryland Eastern and her Montessori Certification from the Montessori Institute of Washington. She currently teaches a 3rd and 4th grade Montessori class at the Langdon Education Campus. Her classroom was recently featured in the Washington Post Kids section as she incorporates live animals such as, geckos, a rabbit and even Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches into her daily instruction.
Don Gonneville has a strong military service background. He has served as an Executive Officer in Ft. Bragg, NC, Republic of Vietnam and Fort Benning, GA. He has also served as Special Assignment to French Army Airborne Forces, Pau, France. Gonneville was a Company Commander in the Republic of Vietnam.Awards and Decorations:
Bronze Star Medal; Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Purple Heart; Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal (8 Campaigns); Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Combat Infantryman’s Badge; Master Parachutist Badge; Senior Parachutist Badge; Parachutist Badge; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Ranger Tab; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Silver Star; French Parachutist Badge; Civil Action Honor Medal (1st Class).
Don Gonneville served as a past president of the California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance, Veteran Advisor to Business Matchmaking, SBA procurement program. Coordinator of new business training for disabled veterans with emphasis on those with traumatic injuries having particular difficulty in securing employment.
Chief Dave Rohr's heroism is demonstrated every day and in many ways. His leadership and vision in Fireground studies has paved the way for safer staffing and Fireground operations across the nation. His work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology studies, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, has helped protect other firefighters and paramedics on the street. Through the residential and the high rise studies, as well as the EMS staffing experiments, Chief Rohr and his fellow fire service leaders have established a greater understanding of how crew size affects time to task completion - critical work indeed.
In addition to his support of firefighter safety initiatives throughout his 35 year career, Chief Rohr has also placed a great deal of importance on community involvement and helping others in the community where he works. This is evident through his continued involvement with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). He has supported and participated in the annual “Fill the Boot” campaign as well as attending Summer Camp with the children for the past three years.
Michael Cahill is Nationally Registered Paramedic, a member of the Alexandria Police Department SWAT team and a volunteer firefighter in his home state of Pennsylvania. Cahill first enlisted in the New York Army National Guard in 1983 before transferring to the Army, where he served for 5 years before entering the Maryland Army National Guard in 1993. He began his career with the Alexandria Fire Department in 1994 and is currently a EMS Supervisor.
Frank Lombardi is a MDA client who has been a wonderful advocate for not only his form of MD, known as CMT, but he tirelessly fights for the rights of ALL Americans with Disabilities. Frank is really a blessing to the MDA family. He makes time to come to any event and support MDA and everything MDA does. He is a devoted husband and father in addition to all of the time he gives to better the community.
Joel and Jenny Kobersteen are the dynamic duo. Not only do they both serve in the medical field, but they both have huge hearts for those that need help. Joel Kobersteen, who serves as a Master Technician and Communications Director at Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics, also devotes much of his time to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He is the program's Fill the Boot coordinator (Fairfax County Local 2068 was #1 in the NATION for dollars raised through Fill the Boot!). Joel is not alone at the MDA. He has the constant support of his wife, Jenny. Jenny, an RN, also supports MDA by being the nurse at their annual summer camp. This husband and wife team goes above and beyond!