The Naval War College Foundation celebrated the extraordinary patriotic, entrepreneurial, and dedicated service of Rebecca Williams in Palm Beach, Florida at the home of Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. Ambassador McElveen-Hunter opened her home to more than 100 guests who honored Ms. Williams as she received the Foundation’s inaugural Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her leadership on philanthropic efforts in support of our Nation’s military heroes and their families.
NWCF CEO George Lang and NWCF Trustee Phil Dunmire presented Mrs. Williams with the award, explaining how she founded the Palm Beach Navy SEAL Evening of Tribute fundraiser in 2013 after being inspired by the heroic acts of the Seal community as part of the War on Terror. Proceeds from the annual event benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation and Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, and go a long way in assisting Navy SEAL families. The citation for the award reads:
In recognition of her extraordinary patriotic, entrepreneurial, and dedicated service in support of active duty service members, veterans and their families for nearly a decade. Ms. Williams’ steadfast leadership, spirited can-do attitude, and innovative fundraising activities raised millions of dollars for our Nation’s military heroes, ensuring access to necessary support and resources required during deployments, when returning home, and while transitioning to the civilian sector. Ms. Williams near single-handedly generated these indispensable resources for use during times of illness, injury, post-deployment personal and family reintegration adjustments, transition and separation challenges, as well as times of other great need for our Nation’s military families. Ms. Williams also identified an opportunity for community involvement in Palm Beach, Florida, and without hesitation, envisioned, planned, and executed a program that today provides invaluable support for so many of our service members. Established initially without the benefits of appropriate office space, staff, and financial resources, Ms. Williams built a successful philanthropic service program that has proven critically important to service members’ health and welfare. Like many of our most successful warfighters, Ms. Williams remained focused and resolute in her mission, resulting in immeasurable benefits and support for our Nation’s courageous service personnel. Because of her enthusiasm and admiration for those serving around the globe and at home protecting our national interests and personal freedoms, our Nation, Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, and our local military and veterans’ communities, are stronger, more resilient, and united. Ms. Williams’ distinctive accomplishments, steadfast initiative and selfless dedication to service reflect great credit upon herself and her community, while upholding the highest standards of service as supported by the Naval War College Foundation.
The Foundation was also joined by Admiral Scott Swift, USN (Ret.), Commander US Pacific Fleet and a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College (NWC). Admiral Swift shared his insight and experience with guests and reflected on the profound impact that his time at the NWC had on his career. He noted that “attending the Naval War College completely changed my life.” Following his talk, Admiral Swift fielded questions from guests on topics from unmanned aircraft to great power competition.