Photo: Blue Star Families

On March 13, more than 300 luminaries, dignitaries, volunteers, and military community advocates spent an evening at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. supporting the work of Blue Star Families at their Blue Star Neighbors Celebration. The night was one of fun, food, and advocacy. Here’s exactly how the night happened, as seen through the tweets from Blue Star Families, our partners, and our friends:

The Volunteers


Our fantastic volunteers and dedicated staff members put in time before, during, and after the event to make sure the night was perfect.

The Anthem

A quartet from CAMMO Music opened the night with an a capella version of the National Anthem.

The Emcee

Brianna Keilar, CNN’s Senior Washington Correspondent and Anchor, was mistress of ceremonies for the evening. A military spouse herself, Keilar introduced each of the award-winners as well as special guests like General and Mrs. Joseph Dunford, who helped to honor each award-winner.

The Doctor

After a moving video recounting her dedication to wounded veterans and their families, Dr. Lynda Davis was honored with the Blue Star Caregiving Award.

The Foundation

The Constance J. Milstein Philanthropic Award was presented to USAA and the USAA Foundation for their outstanding efforts in philanthropy towards military families.

The Neighbor

Erik J. Nelson, was presented the Blue Star Neighbor Award, recognizing his dedication, service, and friendship to a military family. When nominator Shane Clark left on deployment, Clark stepped into his small business–a martial arts studio–and ran it for the next three-and-a-half years. Read more about Nelson’s impressive act as a Blue Star Neighbor and how much it meant to the Clarks here.

The Chefs

Attendees were treated to an array of gourmet appetizers from shrimp sliders to sashimi to dessert shooters from teams of Blue Star Neighbor chefs and their military counterparts:

  • Chef Todd Gray (Equinox) and SSGT Hiram Carrion (US Marine Corps)
  • Chef Kyle Bailey (The Salt Line Oyster + Ale) and CSCS Derek Johnson (US Coast Guard)
  • Chef Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s) and MSgt Jennifer Medeiros (US Air Force)
  • Chef Chris Clime (Passion Fish) and SSG Michelle Brown (US Army)
  • Chef David Guas (Bayou Bakery) and TSgt Tyler Gaswint (US National Guard)
  • Chef Ris Lacoste (Ris) and CS1 Frida Karani

The Desserts and Drinks

And of course, the drinks and desserts did not disappoint either. Dog Tag Bakery served cherry dessert shooters that paired with Starbucks coffee. Mixologist Todd Thrasher of Potomac Distilling Company and Tiki TNT created two signature cocktails for the evening.

The Blue Star Neighbors Award is announced during the annual Blue Star Neighbors Celebration each year. This event acknowledges the kindness of military supporters across the country and their impact on the military family community. To learn more, please click here.