NEW YORK CITY — The third annual Tribute Journey Fleet Week afternoon tea took place during Fleet Week in New York City to kick off Memorial Day weekend. Proudly sponsored by U-Haul, the tea is held in honor of the Sea Services.
For more than 30 years, Fleet Week has offered a platform for civilians to learn about the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. This is done while paying tribute to those in uniform.
U-Haul, founded by a WWII Navy veteran, is recognized repeatedly as one of the top veteran-friendly employers in the U.S. U-Haul was honored to once again play a role in this year’s Fleet Week through the sponsorship of this special event.
The afternoon tea, hosted by Tribute Journey founder Kathryn T. Cross, also paid tribute to Gold Star mothers, fathers, family members and senior officers, as well as veterans and veterans-services representatives. Cross, who is also a U.S. Navy Gold Star mother, has quickly turned the afternoon tea into one of Fleet Week’s most prestigious events.
“Our Tribute Journey Fleet Week afternoon tea provides an opportunity for Gold Star parents and families to unite with the military’s most senior officers and join together without a schedule, ceremony or media to acknowledge the lives dedicated to service of our country,” Cross noted. “It’s a unique opportunity that allows us nobility and dignity. Everyone deserves to recognize and reflect on the close bond linking our military families.”
Tribute Journeys are carried out by Cross and U-Haul Team Members as tours of appreciation for veterans and current military service members. This occurs through the delivery of custom-made greeting cards. Illustrations and poetic verses are crafted by Cross and placed on cards printed at U-Haul headquarters in Phoenix. Cross has been making cards for veterans since 2009. It’s a labor of love she began in the memory of her son, OSSN Tyler J. Connely, who gave his life for his country.
The Pembroke Room at The Lowell Hotel, a landmark of the Upper East Side, proved again to be the perfect place to host the tea. U-Haul area district vice president Nick Marra and marketing company presidents Jeff Sonberg, Will Wolff and Patrick Keefe attended. Cross welcomed and delivered opening remarks to guests and thanked U-Haul for sponsoring the event.
Guests enjoyed English tea sandwiches, fruit tarts, French pastries, macaroons, herbal and fruit infusions, and a selection of teas. Cross gave everyone in attendance a special Tribute Journey Challenge coin.
Eric Dupaix (Director of Operations at The Lowell), Victor Martinez (Chief of Protocol for the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic), John C. Scorby (Rear Admiral, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic CNRMA) and Loree Sutton (Commissioner of Veterans Affairs for New York City) also addressed guests.
Commissioner Sutton gave heartfelt thanks to Cross and all the Gold Star mothers, fathers and family members in attendance. “Every year, it just keeps getting better and better and when we stop on this day, in this place, with all of you to both celebrate our sea services and our families; and particularity on this afternoon, our Gold Star families. We are in your debt. We know that you are there all year long for us,” Sutton stated.
Rear Admiral John Scorby added: “This event has by far become my favorite event during Fleet Week and one we look forward to now every year. The support you show the sea services will never go unnoticed. It is said 1 percent of the population serves. And that 1 percent protects the other 99 percent. Please take time to thank a sailor or service member when you see them.”
Cross closed by noting: “It was a wonderful afternoon tea with friends. Cheers to you all! None of this would be possible without you. With sincere appreciation, I thank you all for your service. And thank you, Team U-Haul, for your incredible generosity and support of our efforts.”