Hershel “Woody” Williams, the last surviving Medal of Honor Recipient from the battle of Iwo Jima joins fellow Recipients’ Donald “Doc” Ballard, Robert Patterson (Pensacola) and Alabama native Bennie Adkins, for the 2017 Heroes for Freedom and Liberty Event and dinner hosted at the historic USS Alabama on Sept. 7.
They will honor the memory Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss (February 7, 1919–March 23, 2006) who will be honored posthumously, represented by his only son Desmond Doss, Jr., who will accept the Hero’s award on his father’s behalf. Doss’s famous story inspired the filming and production of the award- winning film Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson.
MOH Recipients will join Glen Frazier (US Army WWII), Daphne, AL, the last POW survivor from the Death Bataan march will be honored. Prior to escaping the Death Bataan march, Mr. Frazier was forced into slave work camps in the Philippines and Japan for 3.5 years during WWII
Mayor Sandy Stimpson will welcome the gallery to Mobile and former U.S. Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner is the Master of Ceremonies. Entertainment includes Jeff “Skunk” Baxter formerly of the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, Eric Horner (Nashville) and Papa T Turner (Muscle Shoals). The welcome reception will be hosted by Folds of Honor and represented by Rocky Sickmann, former Marine Sergeant, was held hostage in Iran Nov. 4, 1979 for 444 days when Iranian militants overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
The Heroes’ committee will recognize Derek and Jessica Simmons who engineered the human life chain in Panama City Beach which resulted in saving multiple lives. This story made international headlines.
September 11 will mark the anniversary of the horrific attacks on the NY World Trade center, Shanks Ville, PA, the Pentagon and mark the 5-year anniversary of the attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi. John “Tig” Tiegen, former Marine drill sergeant, member of CIA’s GRS and essential part of the team who responded and thwarted the wave of terrorist attacks that lasted over 13 hours. His actions resulted in saving many lives. He is the coauthor of the book 13 Hours and consulted on the filming of 13 hours. Mr. Tiegen will be honored for his actions and will represent the four men who paid the ultimate sacrifice that night.
Former undefeated MMA and WWE Champion Daniel K. Puder, nominated for humanitarian of the year for his relentless pursuit of challenging our youth to combat bullying, and war against human and sex trafficking and for inspiring young people to become leaders. He is the CEO and Co-founder of MyLifeMyPower.
USAA will sponsor a special fallen hero project dedication to a Gold Star family member representing the crew, family and friends involving the Spirit 03’ an AC-130H Spectre gunship (Hurlburt Field), shot down by enemy fire in support of Operation Desert Storm Jan. 31, 1991. The attack resulted in 14 airmen killed. The Honorary Ashton Hayward, Mayor of Pensacola, will be present for this tribute.
The evening’s beneficiary is the Military Warriors Support Foundation and will honor its founder Lt. General (Ret) Leroy Sisco after 10 years of honoring our wounded vets and providing nearly 800 mortgage free homes with financial assistance and mentorship for veterans’ families. A home will be granted to a veteran and his family at the event.
The mission for annual Heroes for Freedom and Liberty Event is to honor American heroes (military and civilian) for going above and beyond their call of duty for their fellow man and our country. This year’s beneficiary will be the Military Warriors Support Foundation.