The sixth annual S.O.S. Salute Our Soldiers Gala on Saturday, June 16 will benefit the Seacoast Chapter of Veterans Count, an Easter Seals program dedicated to providing financial support for service members and veterans of all eras.
The event at the Runnymede Farm, 68 Atlantic Ave., North Hampton, begins at 5 p.m. with a cocktail reception and music by the Don Campbell Band. The program begins at 6:25 p.m. led by master of ceremonies Mark Fodero.
The keynote speaker will be Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Donald C. Bolduc, who served 32 years of active duty. He received two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, two Purple Hearts and 10 deployments to Afghanistan from 2001-2013. Immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, he led one of the first groups into Afghanistan, riding on horseback to take control of the southern Afghanistan region from Taliban rule.
The retired Army Ranger, Green Beret and former commander of Special Operations Command Africa now advocates for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, while changing the conversation to one of understanding and acceptance through his own struggles with PTSD.
A native of Laconia, Bolduc and his wife Sharon, also a U.S. Army veteran, live in Stratham.
Saturday’s event will include the posting of the colors by the U.S. Marine Corps Cadets ROTC from Winnacunnet High School and an invocation by Rev. Bruce Borella, pastor of Rye Bethany Church in Greenland. Gov. Chris Sununu will make remarks and there will be acknowledgements from Sen. Maggie Hassan, and Easter Seals New Hampshire CEO Larry Gammon. Other highlights will include a salute of audience soldiers from all eras of conflict and a live auction led by Fodero.
Since 2007, Easter Seals Military & Veterans Services has served more than 9,000 individuals in a variety of ways including suicide prevention, homelessness, substance abuse treatment, employment, transportation and mental health issues resulting from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury. Veterans Count supports families through a care coordination model and provides emergency financial assistance for various needs. For more information, visit vetscount.org/nh.