than 300 veterans, friends and family joined the P.O.W.
NETWORK on Friday evening for the 17th Annual
Military Gala & Banquet held at the elegant Chateau
on the Lake in Branson.
event’s Master of Ceremonies was LCDR Michael Jones USN
(Ret), the President of the Mess was Col Don McMahon,
USANG(Ret) and the Chaplain was Col Paul Vicalvi, USA
(Ret) . The P.O.W. Network’s Chairman, Mary Schantag,
shared the stage to introduce the VIPs, sponsors and to
present annual awards. Colors were presented by the St.
Louis Service Women's Post 404. The National Anthem was
led Voices of Glory who also closed the GALA. Ms Molly
Renshaw led the Pledge of Allegiance.
evening included a candlelight POW/MIA service which
incorporated a special version of the children's story
America's White Table, a salute to Military
Families and Women Veterans, outdoor fireworks, a USMC
birthday cake, entertainment by Delena and cast members
of Wartime Romance, and dancing with music provided by
Steve and Sharon Robinson of Forsyth, MO and Don and
Diane Shipley of Chesapeake, VA, received the P.O.W.
Network’s prestigious “Captain John Koutrakos Patriotism
Award” for their work over the last decade exposing
bogus Navy SEALs. It was the first time dual awards
Remarks referenced former Navy Seal Robinson having
pioneered the methods used today to expose the lies told
by some, noting at times that dozens of reports of false
claims were arriving daily when real SEALs made the news
- killing Osama Bin Laden, or rescuing hostages.
time, the Robinon's were part of a very small community
with access to the private data base information on real
SEALs, allowing them to do the research, and put forth
concise answers when claims arose.
Sharon, a former Branson entertainer saw the effort
envelop their daily lives. Press interviews, calls
from the women the frauds abused, or the daily need to
answer emails begging for the truth from the children or
a new widow became a substitute for her "girl's night
out," or summer vacations.
Shipley took over the work of verifying SEAL claims when
Steve Robinson retired after 13 yrs of daily efforts on
the problem of false SEAL claims, passing the torch
several years ago to Shipley, a retired Navy SEAL Senior
Chief Petty Officer. Shipley appeared by SKYPE from
Virginia during the GALA.
Shipley's wide younger audience offered a chance to
spread the word by "social media" - a method unknown
when the POW NETWORK began exposing false claims in