Real Estate Visionary Rick J. Caruso Presented with NSF Patriot Award at 2018 Los Angeles Evening of Tribute

On the evening of November 7, hundreds of executives, supporters, patriots and heroes assembled at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for the Navy SEAL Foundation’s 2018 Los Angeles Evening of Tribute.

This Evening of Tribute was created to recognize the courage, commitment and sacrifices of the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community and give patriotic citizens an opportunity to show their gratitude and support. The Los Angeles event, presented by Trident Sponsor Kennedy Wilson, raised nearly $5 million in support of the Navy SEAL Foundation’s mission to provide care, education and vital support for our Navy SEALs and their families.

After a lively cocktail reception, the doors to the Beverly Wilshire ballroom opened and the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band performed as guests found their seats. There, they viewed the presentation of the Colors by the Naval Base San Diego Color Guard, which was followed by a stirring rendition of our national anthem by Musician Second Class Rachel Vennel. Actor Matt McCoy served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

William J. McMorrow, Navy SEAL Foundation board member and Chairman and CEO of global real estate investment company Kennedy Wilson presented the “Navy SEAL Foundation Patriot Award” to renowned business innovator, respected civic leader, and dedicated philanthropist Rick J. Caruso. Caruso is Founder and CEO of one of the largest privately held real estate firms in the United States, Caruso®.

“Rick has shown an extraordinary commitment to helping others, improving people’s lives and taking a hands-on approach to giving back. He applies the same intense drive that we’ve all witnessed in his business life to his civic and charitable endeavors as well, and it is truly inspirational,” said McMorrow. “This award is meant to honor an individual who has contributed greatly to our country and upholds the values that epitomize the SEAL community, and I cannot think of a more well-suited recipient than my good friend Rick.”

Mr. Caruso’s admiration for the NSW community was palpable as he spoke. “Navy SEALs are the very embodiment of what causes a citizen to put his or her hand over their heart. I am grateful and indebted to them for their gallantry and bravery, their sacrifice and devotion, and their love of our county. Most Americans are largely removed from the risks Navy SEALs take, the sacrifices they make and the hardships they endure for all of us,” said Caruso. “To receive an award from the Navy SEAL Foundation – to be mentioned in the same sentence as a SEAL – is an incomparable and singular honor: An honor that I will forever cherish and hold dear.”

Gold Star Wife Courtney Vargo shared a very personal story about the loss of her husband, Thomas Retzer, who was part of a dedicated Naval Special Warfare team fighting the Taliban and was killed in action in 2003. He distinguished himself as a SEAL operator during combat operations in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2003, earning two Bronze Stars with combat “V” for valor.

The evening’s keynote speaker was Admiral Michael G. Mullen, USN (Ret.) 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “For those of us who’ve had the privilege to wear the uniform – and it really is a privilege – this has been our life: to protect America, to prevent war and conflict where we can, and to respond in war and combat when we must,” said Admiral Mullen. “The Navy SEAL Foundation represents a focus on people who have done that for decades at the world-class level, for which our country is so grateful.”

After dinner, Rear Admiral (SEAL) Richard Rodriguez, Deputy Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, delivered a moving tribute to the members of NSW who are no longer with us. Rachel Moore, daughter of retired Rear Admiral (SEAL) Scott P. Moore and Gold Star granddaughter, played “Taps” on the piano as the photos and names of the Fallen were scrolled on screen. The evening closed out with a special performance by 16-time Grammy Award-winning musician David Foster, who brought singers including Annie Bosko and Pia Toscano on stage to sing some of his greatest hits. Other notable attendees included Jack Kesy, Ed Quinn, Bill Walton, among others.

This year’s Los Angeles Evening of Tribute Co-chairs were William J. McMorrow and Kent Mouton from Kennedy Wilson, and Michael Eisner.



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