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Fallen heroes’ wives, daughters and mother are recognized as “Honorary Miss Americas” at the 2012 Miss America pageant; VIP itinerary includes day spa, shows, VIP seating at Miss America Finals, visits with celebrities

Las Vegas, NV—The Third Annual Project Gratitude brings twenty-two wives, daughters and one mother of fallen heroes to the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. The highlight of their VIP visit will be a ceremony Friday evening January 13th when each will be “pinned” by former Miss Americas with a crown pin, symbolizing their status as the newest honorary Miss Americas.

The guests will travel from around the country into Las Vegas on Wednesday, courtesy of American Airlines. They will be guests of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and attend the Blue Man Group, CSI Experience, and will be royally pampered at the Canyon Ranch Spa on Saturday just in time to watch the Miss America Finals “live” (6 PM PST on ABC) from their VIP seats.

“We started Project Gratitude out of a deep, heartfelt sense of gratitude and highest respect for the ultimate sacrifice that was made by our nation’s fallen heroes and their families,” explains Sharlene Hawkes, former Miss America and President of Remember My Service Productions. “By recognizing each of the women and their daughters as honorary Miss Americas–and giving them the VIP experience that Miss Americas have received over the years–it is just our way of doing what we can to pay tribute to these great Americans.”

The chairman of Project Gratitude is Kathleen Gagg, Co-Founder of Camp Better America and Executive Director of the Got Your Back Network, who has organized a broad group of volunteers and sponsors to support the tribute (see below for more information about the sponsors) each year.” We are so honored and humbled to do our part in helping return the salute to these incredible families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice”, stated Kathleen Gagg.

Art McMaster, CEO of the Miss America Organization stated, “We are extremely proud to help bring together families who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country for a truly memorable weekend. During Miss America week, many experiences are shared, friendships are gained and memories are made with these amazing families that will forever become a part of this Miss America family. We are so honored and feel privileged to have them join us for the pageant this month.”

Project Gratitude Thanks These Generous Sponsors:

American Airlines

Air Compassion for Veterans
“Air Compassion for Veterans partnered with the American Airlines Veteran’s Initiative is proud to be able to provide the air transportation for the mothers and children of Project Gratitude to be present at the famous Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.  Our mission and purpose are to provide travel for healing and rehabilitation for wounded warriors and their adversely affected family members.  Binding up wounds and uniting America is the goal.  Thanks for letting us participate.”  Contact: Ed Boyer  757-271-2286

Planet Hollywood

Miss America Organization

Warrior Gateway

“Warrior Gateway is honored to be a part of Project Gratitude in supporting the widows and daughters of our fallen military members.  Initiatives such as Project Gratitude show how communities across the nation can step up to work together and support the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Alongside Got Your Back Network and The Miss America Organization as well as other partners, we are honored to join these families of our fallen in Las Vegas for the Miss America pageant.” said Devin B. Holmes, CEO of Warrior Gateway. “Warrior Gateway remains committed to supporting all members of the military community as they return home and seek out their new normal life.” Contact: Devin Holmes (202) 695-3668

Got Your Back Network
“Got Your Back Network is pleased to partner with the Miss America organization to provide a very unique and “once in a lifetime” experience for surviving wives and their daughters. Shared experiences are the highlight of memories and we are happy to be able to plan, organize and implement the Project Gratitude event. We thank all the volunteers, contributors and organizations that have made Project Gratitude possible. “ Contact: Roy E. Baldwin, President 973-670-3940

CSI Experience
“On behalf of CSI: The Experience we are honored to have the widows and daughters of fallen military members visit our interactive experience as part of the initiative called Project Gratitude.  Obviously, words cannot begin to express the debt we owe to our service men and women who give their lives in defense of our country.  We only hope that we can give these families an enjoyable experience as our way of showing them a portion of the appreciation that they deserve.”
Contact: Ava Bahnam Wideen 702.742.6814

Chilton Hospital : contact Anna Scalora 973-831-5496