The 2018 CCF Gala
It’s almost time for the 2018 CCF Gala, which takes place June 16 at the Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, CT. The event will be an elegant evening focused on honoring and supporting our Veteran guests and speakers. The evening will include cocktails, music, dinner, and a live and silent auction. And it’s all for a great cause: The CCF Gala benefits Carrington House and our Veteran Support Programs, including the Veterans Airlift Command, which provides free air transportation through a network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots for severely wounded Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and their families.
To date, with the generosity of our donors and supporters, we have raised more than $16 million and have taken great steps forward in our mission. Since 2014, we have completed 20 homes for wounded Veterans through Carrington House, our Signature Program – and two additional homes are in progress. Recognizing the opportunity to further its mission, the Foundation expanded its focus in 2017 by launching our Veteran-focused Support Programs, which are rooted in the pillars of Mobility, Stability, Purpose and Prosperity. For many years, CCF has provided Mobility through the organization’s support of the Veterans Airlift Command and Stability through Carrington House. Now, the Foundation has expanded the vision to support like-minded nonprofits to ease the transition back into civilian life, including The Honor Foundation and The Travis Mills Foundation.
Distinguished Veteran guests for the Gala evening include:
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aubrey Hand
While on a mounted patrol in Afghanistan, Senior Airman Aubrey Hand was injured by an IED, causing serious damage to his left foot and brain. He medically retired from service in July 2015. During his time in the Air Force, he received numerous medals, including the Purple Heart Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Combat Action Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. Now, Aubrey is hand cycling in marathons, golfing, swimming, paddle boarding, and even snowboarded five months after the amputation of his left leg. What’s most meaningful to him is that he can chase after his son, Theron, and run with his dog. Aubrey is returning to school to finish his bachelor’s degree and continually trains for competitions. Now that his wife, Jasmine, is also an avid snowboarder, they both look forward to passing the sport on to their son.
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Brian Kolfage
During his second deployment to Iraq in 2004, Senior Airman Brian Kolfage was injured during a rocket attack. A rocket shell exploded three feet from him, and he was thrown several feet into the air, landing against a wall of sandbags, but never losing consciousness. As a result of his injuries, Brian suffered the loss of both legs and his right hand. Despite being the most severely wounded airman to survive any war, Brian continued his service to the Air Force after leaving the hospital, and later served on Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s Veterans Advisory Committee, providing crucial insight to assist Veterans on a national level. Today, Brian is a 2014 graduate from the University of Arizona’s School of Architecture. He lives in Florida with his wife, Ashley, their daughter, Paris, and son, Beckham. Brian and Ashley continue to visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to encourage newly wounded Veterans and give them positive hope for their future.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg
After being assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in 2002, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg was injured by an IED in October 2009, and spent the next three months in a coma. Over seven years and several dozen surgeries later, Cory is making remarkable progress, participating in local, state, national, and international events, inspiring others to ‘keep pushing on.’ Cory has received numerous decorations and awards, including the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, and the Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge. He also has been awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Army Commendation Medal for valor. Cory is Co-Chairman of the AZ Wall Project, which endeavors to bring to Arizona a permanent, scale-sized version of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.; and he’s the ambassador for TrueCar’s Driven to Drive initiative, which facilitates vehicle adaptations for wounded service members.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Clingman
Staff Sgt. Jesse Clingman spent a decade in service in the US Army as an Artillery 13 Foxtrot, an Army military occupational specialty that involves calling in and providing support to ground troops. He served in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. During the early hours of May 27, 2007, while delivering and escorting supplies to local army bases, Jesse’s convoy vehicle was struck by two explosive devices. Although Jesse lost his left leg, his left arm was salvaged, despite severe nerve damage. After Jesse medically retired from the military, the Clingman family had to regroup after a flood destroyed their home. After a long journey for both the Carrington House team and the Clingman family, Friday, November 10, 2017, was the official dedication date for their new Carrington House home. Jesse continues to give back as a youth Pop Warner football coach and an inspirational speaker at local schools on Veterans’ Day. He participates in local Veterans of Foreign Wars rodeos and events, and continues to train as a martial artist – a passion he’s pursued since he was California State Gold Medalist in Taekwondo in the 1996 Junior Olympics.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Johnnie Yellock
Growing up in a dual Veteran family, Staff Sergeant Johnnie Yellock enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Tarleton State University in 2006. Johnnie began his military career as a Combat Controller in the Air Force Special Operations Command, where he was certified as an air traffic controller, trained static line and free fall jumper, and became a U.S. Army-qualified combat scuba diver. During his second deployment to Afghanistan in 2011, his vehicle struck an IED, and he suffered massive leg injuries. He applied tourniquets to his own injuries, and guided MEDEVAC to get his team and himself to a nearby hospital. For his bravery and dedication to his team, he earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Medal. Johnnie spent three years in rehab, endured 30 limb-salvage surgeries, and now wears leg braces. He was medically retired from active duty in November 2013. Since then, he has served fellow Veterans through nonprofit organizations dedicated to Veteran support, including the Mark Forester Foundation, named in honor of his best friend, who died in action.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Michael Jernigan
Marine Michael Jernigan proudly served with Company E 2nd Battalion 2nd Marine regiment. On August 22, 2004, while on a deployment in Iraq, Michael’s platoon was on patrol when it was hit by an IED. He suffered several life-threatening and life-changing injuries that day, becoming the first U.S. service member to lose both eyes in the global war on terror. He endured 30 major surgeries in the first 12 months, and spent 16 months in hospitals and rehab facilities. In the 13 years since the attack, Michael volunteers his time whenever it is needed. For his dedication and continual community service, Michael was awarded the ‘Veteran of the Year Award’ by his hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida. 11 years ago he co-founded Paws for Patriots at South Eastern Guide Dogs, which provides guide dogs and service animals to Veterans. And he has touched thousands of lives through his motivational speaking, peer-to-peer counseling, and his book Vision. On November 9, 2017, Michael was awarded The Ross Perot Patriot Award.