Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NYRA, Proud to be an American Day.

A beautiful day at the Saratoga race track brought many different veteran and active duty organizations together to enjoy horse racing, veteran appreciation, and the pride of being an American.

Saratoga Springs has a strong appreciation for our veterans and active duty. Meeting with the families of servicemembers was amazing.

I attended the event with the lovely Miss America 1998, Kate Shindle and some of my Miss New York sisters and Outstanding Teen titleholders. (Miss Mohawk Valley 2009, Lynn Tryon, Miss Staten Island 2009, Kimberly Cantoni, Miss Empire Rose 2009, Katie Birchenough, Miss Forest Queen 2010, Allison Carlos, Miss New York Outstanding Teen 2009, Kara Jae Kowalski, Miss Empire Rose Outstanding Teen 2009, Shannon Ryan, and Miss Staten Island Outstanding Teen 2009, Jordan Lane Kowalski) Kate started the event with a fantastic performance of The Star-Spangled Banner, and I later presented the award for one of the races: "Miss New York Honors Veterans".

At the "Big Red Spring", my Miss New York sisters and I shot video greeting cards that will accompany care packages that are sent to our troops overseas. These are very much like the "Thank You For Serving DVDs" that I host through the United War Veterans Council.

We were set up close to the rock climbing wall which all of us were tempted to climb. After waving through every eight-year-old who wanted to scurry up the wall, the Marines told us that we could not follow suit...open-toed shoes are a big no-no on the wall. But we posed anyway!!

                                (see that's me on the right...I borrowed the camo and the boots) :) jk

My favorite part of the day was the Music Studio Performers. These children sang a beautiful song and I had to record it...enjoy:

The Making of a Parade....

This year is the 90th anniversary of the 5th Avenue Veterans Day Parade in New York City. This parade is produced by The United War Veterans Council (UWVC).

"The United War Veterans Council of NYC (UWVC) works to ensure that the public is constantly reminded of the sacrifice and service of our veterans and military. Our initiatives play a crucial role in achieving public support for the many important programs that benefit these men and women and their families."

I am proud to be the official spokeswoman and ambassador for their organization.

This year's parade theme, drawn from the preamble of our Constitution, is "The Blessings of Liberty."  Our goal is to encourage the public to not only support our veterans and military, but to show their appreciation for the good things in their own lives that they owe to those in uniform.

Last year, our parade was coupled with the return of the USS Intrepid to NYC's harbor. I had the honor of hosting the crosstown march (from the Intrepid crosstown to 42nd street onto 5th Ave). This year I am excited to get the plans under way and make it the best parade possible. I look forward to a full day of honoring service and recognizing those who have stood in harm's way--our dear veterans.

So far, the day looks like this:

10:00 - 11:00 A.M.
Eternal Light Monument, Madison Square Park
Fifth Avenue @ 24th Street

11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Fifth Avenue parade, from 26th Street to 56th Street

Also in the works is a concert for all of our participating active duty, veterans, servicemembers, and volunteers. We are currently putting the acts together to have an enjoyable show after the largest Veterans Day parade in the country. 

This year, The UWVC is again putting together its commemorative newspaper, which will be distributed throughout the city.   If you would like to add a message to our troops or advertise your local business in the paper, please visit:


For more information regarding the parade please visit:


or you can always email me at MissNY2009@missnyorg.com

New York City Loves Our Troops--Care Package Drive

On August 28th I pitched in at a care package drive for our troops. This was a humbling experience for me, as is always the case with military work. I was reminded not to take any of the simple necessities for granted. There were many volunteers, ranging from school children to Iraq veterans.

The room was full of boxes that contained different items--soap, shaving cream, deodorant, magazines, dvds, snacks, toilet paper--basically any necessity one may need.

As I packed my boxes, I thought of things I would like to receive and tried to add as many of those items as possible. They even had melba toast--and if you know me well enough, you know I was adding plenty of those!! :) 

Many of the servicemembers I've met have shared with me the items they need and enjoy receiving. Items like baby wipes for their hands and face along with magazines and Sudoku books (which are a big favorite).

I am proud to announce that with the help of many, we packaged 2,500 boxes. These packages are desperately needed and I know the items go very quickly. We plan on having another event at the end of September. If you are interested in helping, please let me know!!

The shipping room holding half of the final packages....