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A Night To Remember

USS Midway Museum


The 2nd Annual American Freedom Festival San Diego held May 28 aboard the USS Midway Museum was a night worth remembering. Themed “Families of the Fallen” and after an amazing version of the national anthem by the Navy Chorus, Laurel Tsirimokos wrote and narrated a wonderful tribute to the fallen orchestrated by the Marine Headquarter Squadron 3 Honor Guard building the Battlefield Cross. It left everyone speechless and started our evening off on just the right note.  Thanks so much to Laurel.  Job well done!


SMA Tilley, our host for the evening, took the stage and introduced the marketing director for the USS Midway Museum, Mr. Scott McGaugh.  After a short history of the museum, Scott read a welcome letter from Mr. Jerry Sanders, Mayor of San Diego. The staff and crew of the USS Midway Museum have been great partners on this event that kicks off their Legacy Week.

SMA Tilley brought out LCDR Dr. Andrew Baldwin, physician, humanitarian, former Navy Seal, former star of the TV Series “The Bachelor” and founder of one of the evening’s charitable partners, Got Your Back Network (GYBN). GYBN hosted 10 families of the fallen for the evening’s festivities.  They all had a great time as the event provided some welcomed relief from the issues they have to deal with everyday having lost a loved one in war.

For our first musical performance, KYXY’s Sam Bass brought out the U. S. Army’s Rena Marie Cunningham from the Indiana National Guard.  Rena gave a great performance and is sure to have a promising future!

SMA introduced our long time partner and co-host, Karri Turner, and CEO of our presenting sponsor, SKYDEX, Mr. Mike Buchen, to present our charitable contributions for the evening.  Mike hosted 45 soldiers from Ft. Irwin who were acknowledged.  What a great gesture, Mike!  Then he shocked the whole crowd by presenting SMA Tilley with a $25,000 check!  SMA welcomed the evening’s beneficiaries to the stage: United Through Reading, Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, Got Your Back Network, San Diego Armed Services YMCA and Veterans Village of San Diego. These fine organizations provide such great services to our veterans, active duty military and military families.  It is with great honor and privilege that we were able to presented $50,000 in contributions!

Sam Bass took the stage and introduced the legendary singer/ songwriter Kenny Loggins. To say his performance was magical and electric would be an understatement.  He wowed the crowd and captured the essence of the evening with a stunning performance.  Thanks, Kenny!

Everyone seemed to have a great time and participated enthusiastically in this great tribute to the Families of the Fallen! Thanks to all those who attended and to our sponsors who together helped make this a night to remember!