Taking place for the first time during the holiday season, The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas have joined with the Armed Forces Foundation and Omaha Steaks® to give back to our nation's wounded veterans with “Salute Our Troops”, an event that includes an all-expense paid holiday vacation where the luxury resort is celebrating “Winter in Venice”™, a celebration of the winter holiday season on the Las Vegas Strip. From Dec. 5 to 8, the troops will be treated to an array of world-class holiday festivities, entertainment, dining and relaxation.
Nearly 40 wounded warriors were flown via a private 747 from the military hospitals Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Va.
Upon arriving to The Palazzo by police motorcade escort, the troops were greeted by more than 1,000 Palazzo and Venetian team members and guests lining the casino floor, cheering and waving American flags. With tears in their eyes, many held signs that read “You Are Our Heroes” or simply, “Thank You” while they applauded and shook hands with soldiers as they passed by. As the soldiers made their way through the crowds and into The Palazzo’s atrium gardens, they were in awe from the overwhelming reception and the sheer excitement of being in Las Vegas. Many of the soldiers had gone straight from combat to the hospitals and now to Las Vegas—a trip that marked their first time away from the hospital since being admitted.
To kick off the welcome ceremony, the Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard presented the Colors while the students from the Adelson Educational Campus led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Philanthropists Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, and Patricia Driscoll, president and executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation, addressed the veterans, expressing gratitude for their courage and sacrifice.
“I was overwhelmed by the welcome reception we have received. I didn’t think anyone cared about us, but not anymore,” says Sgt. Melanie Taylor from Fort Belvoir's Warrior Transition Battalion and who also recently returned from Afghanistan.
“It’s a way of showing respect for these guys who come out here. We don’t get thanked a lot or enough. It’s good to see that (The Palazzo and The Venetian) are willing to do this kind of thing for them by showing them a good time in Las Vegas,” says Corey Reedy from the 57th maintenance squadron at Nellis Air Force Base.
This weekend marks the eighth time Dr. and Mr. Adelson, with The Sands Foundation, have hosted the nation’s wounded warriors at the property since the event began in 2007.
During their holiday vacation, the wounded warriors will enjoy not only the events of Winter in Venice, but also lavish accommodations, tours of the Las Vegas Strip, and tickets to opening night of the intimate Soul2Soul show starring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, as well as tickets to Mannheim Steamroller Christmas at The Palazzo Theater. They will also have the opportunity to enjoy the ultimate sports fan experience at Lagasse’s Stadium, poker tournaments, gondola rides, services at Canyon Ranch SpaClub®, and a gourmet cookout hosted by Omaha Steaks at Madame Tussaud’s Las Vegas.