NEW YORK -- The Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation (MCLEF) held their 10th annual Semper Fidelis Gala at the Plaza Hotel here on April 1, 2005.
The festivity was held in honor of Vice President of the United States Richard B. Cheney, who received the Captain Alfred Lerner Memorial Globe and Anchor Award. Fox News Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Roger Ailes also received the Johnny Michael Spann Memorial Semper Fidelis Award, and Park B. Smith Inc. CEO Park B. Smith was presented with the Commandant’s Leadership Award. The 33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, attended the event as a special military guest, amongst the company of other Marine Corps general officers.
“I’m here to thank the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation for their leadership and all the donors for what they do for this great organization,” said Hagee.
“The morale of the Marines out in the field right now is really quite high. I was over in Iraq recently and had a chance to visit with quite a few Marines. Their morale is high, and it’s for several reasons. They’re well equipped, well trained, well led, and they know they have the backing of the American people. (MCLEF) is a manifestation of (the backing of the American people).”
During the event, the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps performed a myriad of selections, including songs like New York, New York and God Bless the U.S.A.
Celebrities, Rush Limbaugh and Tom Wolfe were also in attendance of the affair. Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, noted the importance of contributing to foundations like MCLEF.
“My reason for being here tonight is to show support for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation because of the immense impact they have on the lives of families of Marines, Sailors and federal employees. I called on them recently for the support of a dependent of a Sailor that was lost, a corpsman, and also for a Marine that was from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines,” said Estrada.
“They responded right away by supplying their children with bonds. They just do great things without asking anything in return. We have to support organizations like this.”
The non-profit foundation, formed and run by former Marines and law enforcement volunteers, contributed all of its proceeds from the ball to awards and scholarships for the families of fallen Marines, other service members, and federal law enforcement personnel. The organization was rated with four stars by Charity Navigator, a service that helps compare the financial health of one charity to another for the benefit of donor selection.
“For the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation, over 99 percent of its budget is being dedicated to its programs and services. Very little is being spent on the administration and fundraising,” said Sandra Miniutti, spokesperson of Charity Navigator.
“We’ve evaluated over 4,000 charities, and seven out of 10 of them spent as least 75 percent on their programs and services. This charity well exceeds that figure.”
“For Marines and federal law enforcement we provide a minimum of $20,000 maturity bond to each house of any group killed in the line of duty. For Marine children we assist in payment of medical expenses over and above government insurance…last year the value of our awards was about 3.2 million. In 2003 it was about 11 million. When a Marine is killed, we get notified with a DD1300, and on the left of the casualty notification is our form. We then go out and buy these bonds,” said native New Yorker, former Marine, and MCLEF President Peter Haas.
The four-star charity has also thrown other fundraising events like golf tournaments and has managed to gross 25 million dollars over the past 10 years.
Visit www.MCLEF.org for more information on the foundation.