Cannon Ball shows city's support for veterans

| Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

“It's probably the most aggressively pro-veteran city. It's really a positive place,” said Sgt. Maj.Mark Baylis as he surveyed a crowd of 325 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall.

Pittsburgh has been receiving kudos for its strong support of our armed forces. The active-duty and veteran members making the rounds during the annual Cannon Ball added to the spotlighted attention.

“As a veteran, it means a great deal,” said Gene Pash (withKaren). “We Vietnam veterans make sure the new veterans are warmly welcomed. It's our duty.”

Leading the charge, S&S prez John McCabe mingled with the likes of Dr. Rory Cooper, Col. Charles andGertrude Booth, Sgt. Robert Barnes, Lt. Col. Andy andTricia Loeb, Col. Bernard and Cara Lindstrom, Atiya Abdelmalik and Tim Johnson, Sgt. Maj. Michael Vano with Julie Andrews and museum curator Michael Kraus during a VIP reception on the stage of the auditorium.

Once honorary committee co-chairmen and 2013 Friend & Patriot of the Year recipients Rocky Bleier and Andy Russell, both veteran Steelers as well as veterans of the army, made their entrance, the waters parted long enough to accommodate their arrival before allowing for elbow-room only maneuvering. Meanwhile, guests toured the museum and got up-close and personal with living memorials before a performance by the Hall's 6th Regiment United States Colored Troops Drum Corps signaled the start of dinner in the ballroom.

Proceeds from the Nov. 16 ball will benefit the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum Trust's veterans programs as well as an impending building renovation.

“Our mission is to remember and honor all veterans from all branches,” McCabe said.

Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at or 412-380-8515.

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