Historic Art Highlight of Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation 25th Silver Anniversary Military Ball

By Bonnie Carroll

The Silver Anniversary Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundations Ball was held Saturday, November 5th at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, honoring local veterans and active-duty service members, where 300 guests enjoyed the one-of-a-kind art auction, former Navy SEALS lead by Marc Brakebill of Beyond the Teams, and fantastic live music by The Replicas. The exhibition raised needed funds for PCVF and included over 30 pieces of patriotic and military art.

The cocktail reception in the tastefully designed Art Auction area brought together so many old friends and major supporters of the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation to celebrate 25 years with a toast and a unique opportunity to purchase rare military art. Philanthropist Pierre Claeyssens initiated the Military Ball in 1996 as a way of paying tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Pierre respected the American Military, and the Military Ball was Pierre’s way to thank those who served regardless of their rank, branch, length of service, and if they served in a war or not, a special remembrance for the “Never Forgotten” Veteran.

A few highlighted included “Raising Flag on Mt. Suribachi”, a rare Iwo Jima collage with AP photo by Joe Rosenthal and three original signatures of survivors. February 23, 1945. United States Marines. North American Aviation NASA Space Shuttle Space Walk Photograph of astronauts performing a spacewalk. Signed by one of the two astronauts, David Leetsma, and presented to Ken and Connie Richardson during a visit to Johnson Space Center, 1990.”Shot Down” Drawing by W. J. Reynolds. January 3,1944, Gregory “Pappy” Boyington shot down by Japanese Navy pilot, Masnjiro Kawato, 1943. Signed by both pilots. #122/600. A Rare piece, “In Gallant Company” Print of 1948 by Robert Taylor. Signed by Marine Medal of Honor pilots Bob Gale, Ken Walsh, Foss, Sweet, Jeff Le Blanc, Smith. Collage with uniform pins, medal, “A Time to Heal” and many more were available for purchase.

Photo: Bonnie Carroll

The event also presented former Navy SEALs, led by Marc Brakebill of Beyond the Teams included Steve Terlinden and Mike Charbonnet. These extraordinary individuals, who arguably execute the most dangerous and secretive missions in the US Military, shared their inspiring story on the importance of family to the military mission and beyond. The group of former SEALs and like-minded individuals whose focus is to heal and serve the community. The audience was totally inspired by their moving story: The Teams Behind the Mission.  For information visit: https://beyondtheteams.org/.

Guests enjoyed dancing to the rhythmic sounds of The Replicas Music, who have performed for organizations such as NASA, Google, LinkedIn, GM, Ford, AppFolio, UBS Bank, and Milken Institute, to name a few. The talented group of musicians kept the party going all night long.

It was yet another wonderful evening celebrating our veterans and active-duty service members, enjoying introductions by Lt. John Blankenship, Co-founding director, U.S. Navy (former), posting of the Colors by UC Santa Barbara ROTC Surfrider Battalion Color Guard, pledge of allegiance by Lt. Col. Patricia Rumpza USAF (ret), U.S. National Anthem and America the Beautiful by David Gonzales, Sergeant, Santa Barbara Police Department (ret), invocation, Chaplain Jerry Gray, USAF, Missing Man Ceremony by Lt. col. Patricia Rumpza, USAF (ret.) & UCSB Cadet Daniel Keefe, Guest Speakers Marc Brakebill, Steve Terlinden, and Mike Charbonnet, former Navy SEALs, and an always inspiring salute to the Armed Services Musical Tribute.

Raising the Flag on Mt. Suribachi” by AP Joe Rosenthal with original signatures (Photo: Bonnie Carroll)


NOTE: November 11th at 11:00 am sharp please join VFW Post 1649 and Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation For Veterans Day Ceremony at Santa Barbara Cemetery,901 Channel Drive, Santa Barbara for an open air ceremony beginning with a flyover by The Condor Squadron, followed by UCSB Color Guard, Gold Coast Pipe Band, performances by David Gonzales and the Santa Barbara Choral Society, guest speakers, and a finale featuring Navy Hawkeye Airborne Command and Control E-2 flyover! Come Early! Many thanks to Pete and Gerd of Jordano’s for always providing water for guests at the Veterans Day Ceremony.

About Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation

Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation is committed to honoring the men and women who have served in uniform at any time. PCVF does this by supporting veterans and active duty members, and related partner organizations, in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, as well as preserving military history and legacy. The Foundation works to uphold Pierre Claeyssens vision that those who have served are “Never Forgotten.” PCVF is funded entirely by private donations. For additional information on PCVF please visit:  https://www.pcvf.org/military-ball


(photos by Bonnie Carroll)

Art photo: A rare Iwo Jima collage with AP photo by Joe Rosenthal and three original signatures of survivors. February 23, 1945. United States Marines.

Bonnie Carroll

Written by Bonnie Carroll

Writer, publisher, editor over 30 years, Bonnie Carroll is the present Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of Bonnie Carroll's Life Bites News founded 2005. She is also a contributor to a bevy of magazine and newspapers California and international since 1983.

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