Hundreds of employees, along with family and friends lined The Mirage Convention Center hallway carrying signs, waving flags and applauding in what turned out to be the biggest, most boisterous, and all around best Wounded Warrior welcome to date.
More than 80 veterans and their families arrived at resort to a warm surprise welcome during the Walk of Gratitude, the kickoff to the annual MGM Resorts International sponsored Salute to the Troops Veterans Day Weekend celebration. Employees shook hands with, handed out flowers to, hugged and cheered the servicemen and women as they arrived for a VIP Vegas weekend getaway. Chairman Jim Murren and other Company executives were on hand to greet the wounded warriors – all injured and all on active duty – as they arrived by bus with their families, friends and caregivers. Mr. Murren also spoke to the group at a welcome reception immediately following their arrival.
“We know that there is no amount of gratitude that is enough to equate the amount of effort and sacrifice you have all given for your country,” Mr. Murren said.
The wounded warriors and their guests had plenty planned for the extended holiday “Salute to the Troops” weekend, including a performance by and meet-and-greet with Terry Fator, a visit to Shark Reef and The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, seeing Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings, and more.
“You’re on a mission right now – a mission of fun. Some of you have never been to Vegas, so leave no man behind and stick together,” Mr. Murren said. “Remember it’s all about teamwork and reconnaissance, so don’t miss an opportunity to try every venue that we have.”
Representatives from American Airlines, who provided air travel for the warriors, and the United Services Organizations (USO), the trip’s chief organizer, also spoke to the veterans and thanked them for their service and sacrifices.
“I think I can speak for all of us when I say I’m blown away by the outpouring of love and support shown here today. This is that moment when you know that they truly support and appreciate what you do,” said John Pray, Executive Vice President of the USO. “This weekend is about you and creating those special moments and memories that you may have missed while serving for us.”