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On Saturday, UWGLA partnered with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Councilman Joe Buscaino, Bank of America and several other organizations to present the first Veterans’ Appreciation Festival. The day of celebration, which took place at the USS Iowa Battleship in San Pedro, thanked the many men and women who have selflessly given their time and talent in service to our country.

Check out the video:


Roughly 1,000 people attended the free event that featured a ceremony, fun activities and resource booths to support local veterans and their families. Mayor Villaraigosa pledged to those in attendance that moving forward, the celebration would become an annual tradition in Southern California.

United Way President and CEO Elise Buik used the ceremony to announce the launch of United Way’s comprehensive report on veteran unemployment entitled:

“Helping Our Heroes: Creating Pathways to Veteran Employment”

This report examines the unique challenges post-9/11 veterans face and offers recommendations on how our community can best fulfill the economic, employment and wellness needs of our servicemen and women as they return home from duty. “We are committed to doing everything we can,” said Buik, “to help you make that transition back.”

We thank everyone who took part in this wonderful celebration to honor, support and pay tribute to our nation’s heroes!

Check out this photo gallery from the event: