The LVCVA’s Las Vegas Host Committee is passionate about welcoming visitors to our fabulous destination with open arms. In honor of Veterans Day, we’d like to extend our thanks and gratitude for those special visitors who have bravely served our country. The Host Committee supports veterans throughout the year, and in recent months, we had the opportunity to honor some outstanding groups.
On September 29th, an incredible group of World War II Veterans, the Bismarck Sea Survivors, hosted their reunion in Las Vegas.
The U.S.S. Bismarck Sea was the 11th and last American aircraft carrier sunk in World War II. She was sunk on February 21, 1945 after being struck by Japanese Kamikazes during the battle for Iwo Jima. More than 300 men were lost during the attack.
In 1987, three survivors established the Bismarck Sea Survivors Group with the goal of honoring these courageous veterans and their families. Since that time, the group has hosted an annual reunion to keep up-to-date on what’s going on with the Bismarck Sea families. As time passes, it has become increasingly difficult to get the entire group together.
In early September, one of the families contacted the LVCVA in hopes of receiving recommendations and updates about the destination. The group chose Las Vegas because they wanted an exciting and memorable occasion like they have had in years past. That’s when the Las Vegas Host Committee stepped in to make this reunion their best one yet!
In a continued effort to support the Las Vegas Host Committee’s mission of promoting the importance of tourism in Southern Nevada and rolling out the red carpet for Las Vegas visitors, we planned a special welcome appearance and photo opportunity during the Bismarck Sea Survivors reunion meeting at the Plaza Hotel and Casino. We really enjoyed hearing the stories of bravery and meeting the families of our American heroes.
The Host Committee has also worked closely with resort partners and local attractions like the Golden Nugget, The D Hotel and the Mob Museum, to ensure the Bismarck Sea Survivors had access to convenient, world-class dining and entertainment options while visiting Downtown Las Vegas.
Nearly 30 people attended the Host Committee’s surprise visit during the reunion meeting, including the families and loved ones of Bismarck Sea Survivors. The brave veterans in attendance included Rudy Moraga, 89, of Las Vegas; John Papadakis, 92, of Chico, Calif.; Dick Miller, 90, of Menominee, Mich.; and Mario Mendes, 89, of Ripon, Calif. The four estimated they are the only ones of about 25 remaining survivors who could still travel to the Bismarck Sea reunions.
We were honored to take part in such a special event happening right here in Las Vegas, our hope is for the Bismarck Sea Survivors to continue their annual reunions and return to our wonderful city if they do so. The Host Committee will be ready to welcome them with open arms and a martini in hand!
This special event is just the latest in the Host Committee’s continued support for veterans and members of our military. In June, the Host Committee also delivered a special welcome to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Nevada State Convention at the Palace Station Hotel.
The Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 12093 located in Centennial Hills organized this convention that had not been held in Las Vegas for over 5 years. VFW Post 12093 John Lukac provides Volunteer Service Officers (VSOs) to assist veterans and their families to understand their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and to prepare documents that may be required by the VA. This service is provided at the City of Las Vegas Centennial Hills Community Center, Operated by the YMCA.
The VFW is a nonprofit veterans service organization composed of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces. The VFW and its auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. These groups are an excellent resource to help veterans and their families understand the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits available to them. It was truly a pleasure to spend time with these incredible folks.
The Host Committee is always looking for new ambassadors to help welcome visitors and support events like the Bismarck Sea Survivors Reunion and the VFW Department of Nevada State Convention. Anyone from the community can become an ambassador by registering on our website www.lvcva.com/host or emailing our office at firstname.lastname@example.org. +