There’s a Sanskrit proverb that says “He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life's pleasures is like a blacksmith's bellows- he breathes but does not live.”
There was no shortage of generosity when current and former federal cabinet ministers, local business leaders and politicians, and Ottawa’s social scene descended on Ottawa City Hall for the “Party Under The Stars” gala. Nor was there any shortage of life’s pleasures as gala attendees mingled and enjoyed the food, the drinks, and the first-class entertainment, all in support of wellness programs for first responders and post-combat veterans.
Over $15,000 will go directly to providing service dogs and PTSI wellness programs.
But as the proverb states, one can breathe but not live. There’s no greater generosity than sacrificing your own well-being for the safety and security of others, and many with Post Traumatic Stress Injuries (PTSI, often referred to as PTSD) are left unable to enjoy life’s pleasures.
When Cheri Elliott, Executive Director of “To The Stan and Back” (“stan” being shorthand for “Afghanistan”) asked me to lend a hand with her signature event, I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. As we worked tirelessly together to raise funds from our many wonderful sponsors, it was gratifying and also humbling to know the dollars raised would have a direct impact on the lives of those who sacrifice so much.
During the night, we heard moving and inspirational stories from firefighter Jason Byrd, who has the support of his dog Blaze in dealing with PTSI following the devastating loss of a co-worker, and Jody Mitic, City of Ottawa Councilman, who sustained severe injuries in Afghanistan and authored the book “Unflinching: The Making of a Canadian Sniper.”
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister for Veteran Affairs, and Bill Blair, Order of Merit of the Police Forces and Member of Parliament, spoke of the impact people like Cheri have on their communities, and the progress we’re making as a country in supporting our veterans and first responders.
Spotted among the many VIPs in the crowd were The Honourable Candice Bergen, MP, and The Honourable Rob Nicholson, MP. CTV’s Don Martin was an engaging MC who masterfully blended humour and politics with the more serious and emotional parts of the evening.
An event like Party Under The Stars can’t happen without the support of sponsors, including key donors Air Canada, Via Rail, Rideau Carleton Entertainment, Tilray, and the International Association of Firefighters.
While final numbers are being reviewed, well over $15,000 will go directly to providing service dogs and PTSI wellness programs to our country's bravest.
Thank you, Cheri, for inviting A Social Affair Event Management to be a part of this wonderful evening.
If you’d like to find out how you or your company can support To The Stan and Back, please contact Christian Garceau at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Martin | MC, CTV Ottawa
Cheri Elliot | Founder and Executive Director of "To The Stan and Back"
Jason Byrd | Firefighter
The Honourable Kent Hehr | Minister of Veteran Affairs
Charlie Major | Multi Juno Award Winner
Bill Blair | Order of Merit of the Police Forces, MP
Jody Mitic | City of Ottawa Councilman