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Stadium-Sized 'Day of Gratitude' Event Set in Las Vegas for Military Personnel, Veterans

Olivia Pero : Jun 7, 2024  The Daily Signal

"Too many feel like relics that have been forgotten, and that's a narrative that has got to be changed in our nation. Day of Gratitude is a catalyst for changing this mindset." -Dave Donaldson, co-founder and CEO of CityServe International

[] At an event expected to be the largest of its kind in Nevada history, 15,000 military service members, veterans, and their families will be treated to world-class entertainment, millions of dollars in gifts, and an array of activities at the NFL Las Vegas Raiders' stadium on Saturday.  (Image: iStock-JacobLund)

With the maximum number of free tickets already reserved, there are 3,000 more service members, vets, and their families on the waitlist for the Day of Gratitude at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, said Dave Donaldson, co-founder and CEO of CityServe International, a Christian collaborative network.

"We want this Day of Gratitude to really show our appreciation, not only for those who have served, but their families," Donaldson said. "We want their kids to know how proud we are of their parents and grandparents."

Day of Gratitude performers will include country music artist Walker Hayes, "American Idol" finalist Danny Gokey, and Garry and Janine Carson, whose magic show was voted No. 1 in Las Vegas last year.

The Day of Gratitude collaborators—including Voice of the Veterans, ChurchLV, the Las Vegas Raiders, and corporate donors, in addition to CityServe—will distribute $3 million worth of "gratitude gifts," Donaldson said. Those include T-shirts for every attendee, along with Ikea bags filled with 20 different practical items, such as Nike shoes, toys, diapers, and baby wipes.

"Thanks to the Raiders, we're going to feed the first 12,000 a wonderful lunch," the CityServe chief said. After the ceremony and lunch, the kids' zone will open on each end of the field, where there will be inflatable moon bounce houses and games.

There will be some 40 booths providing various services for veterans and military families at the event, he said. Many of those services will focus on counseling and encouragement, combating post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide prevention.

"It's a heartbreaker when you hear the statistics," Donaldson said. Since 9/11, nearly 7,000 military personnel have died in wars, and 6,000 have died every year from suicide since then. Additionally, 1 in 4 active-duty service members suffer from food insecurity, he said.

Veterans often return from service and feel isolated because they can't relate to other people, as "the military comprises 1% of the American population," he said. Other sources put that figure even lower, at 0.5%

"Too many feel like relics that have been forgotten, and that's a narrative that has got to be changed in our nation," Donaldson said. "Day of Gratitude is a catalyst for changing this mindset." Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Olivia Pero is a member of the Young Leaders Program of The Heritage Foundation.

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