This weekend, I am staying at the Palazzo in Las Vegas to cover their tribute to wounded warriors, an effort made by the Sands Corporation for the past several years. Sands Corporation partnered with Southwest Airlines to bring Marines and soldiers from military hospitals in Washington DC and San Antonio, Texas in order to treat them to the kind of weekend usually reserved for high rollers. The event was coordinated through the Armed Forces Foundation, which was originally formed years ago to help the children of men and women in the military, but whose mission changed significantly after 9/11.
The reception for the veterans was quite stirring. The employees of the Palazzo lined up from the front door through the lobby to an atrium, and as they gathered, more and more of the tourists in the casino joined them to cheer the veterans through the building. Active-duty men and women in the service filled out the final 50 feet or so:
The Palazzo held a welcoming ceremony in the atrium. Newly-appointed Senator Dean Heller spoke for a few minutes, as did the cast of Jersey Boys (who also sang the national anthem), Patricia Driscoll of the Armed Forces Foundation, and Jimbo Larsen, a Southwest customer service manager at McCarron Airport and himself a veteran of two tours in Iraq. Sands chair Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Dr. Mary Adelson, spoke last:
Later, I spoke with Sands VP Andy Abboud about the events held by the casino for wounded veterans over the years. You’ll hear his replies perfectly well, but my questions might be hard to hear, due to the acoustics in the atrium area and the very directional microphone I used yesterday:
In another post, I’ll have a couple of interviews with the Sands’ partners in this event. I will also get a chance to talk to a few of the veterans themselves tomorrow, and will have those videos later this weekend.
Note: The Palazzo paid my travel expenses to cover this event.