The evening of April 27 was a lively and exciting time for Second Amendment supporters. Nearly 1,500 patriots gathered at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia for a night of fun, food, firearms, and fellowship at The National NRA Foundation Banquet.
For 25 years, Friends of NRA has raised money for the future of the shooting sports at local events across the country. That same enthusiasm from the local level is experienced at the organizations largest event of the year at the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits.
As the doors opened to the banquet hall, a crowd of people flooded the room where they had the opportunity to play games sponsored by some of the largest firearms manufacturers in the country. Attendees had the chance to bid in the silent auction as well as view a selection of featured items reserved for live auction which included firearms, merchandise, gear, hunting trips and much more.
As the last tickets were dropped in buckets and the final bid was placed in the silent auction, attendees took to their seats where they were greeted with special remarks from Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, followed by representatives from event sponsors Century Arms, Henry Repeating Arms, and Kimber.
Each speaker mirrored similar sentiments to the crowd of the importance of this program, its purpose, and the dedicated individuals who help make it all possible.
These individuals are volunteers of Friends of NRA.
Volunteers have and continue to be the backbone of the program since its inception raising millions of dollars for The NRA Foundation. It is because of committed and hard working people that this program exists and is so successful year after year.
The effort put forth by these volunteers don’t go unnoticed and each year at the annual meetings, volunteers from across the country are recognized for their outstanding work. Sponsored by Ripcord, this year's Volunteer of the Year and Committee of the Year awards were presented to:
Eastern Region Volunteer of the Year - James Hemmer
Central Region Volunteer of the Year - Kenny Ruckel
South Region Volunteer of the Year - Ray Hollingsworth
Southern Region Volunteer of the Year - Marcia Parsons
Western Region Volunteer of the Year - Greg Collins
Southwest Region Volunteer of the Year - Rodney Wilkes
Committee of the Year - Falls of the Ohio - Borden, Indiana
One of the most memorable moments of the evening was when Anthony Imperato, President of Henry Repeating Arms took to the stage to honor four individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. One by one, Anthony shared stories of veterans of the armed forces and invited them on stage to thank them for their service where they were presented with their own Henry rifle.
The stories shared honored 39-year USAF veteran Linda Becker, Medal of Honor recipient and Afghanistan veteran Ty Carter, Medal of Honor recipient and veteran of Vietnam War Don Jenkins, and WWII veteran George Krakosy.
The hour arrived for the live auction festivities to take place and bidders focused their attention to the stage as the auctioneer greeted the spirited crowd.
One item after another was quickly picked up. From the 200th Anniversary Remington Model 870, Custom Remington R1, Weatherby MARK V® LAZERMARK® .270 Wby Mag, Wooden Gadsden Flag donated by Flags of Valor, NRA Originals Bar Stools Set donated by Jesse James and more, the live auction proved to be the highlight event of the evening amongst the crowd.
The National NRA Foundation Banquet truly was an evening of fun, food, firearms, and fellowship from start to finish and knowing contributions support local and state youth shooting sports programs for years to come made it all the better to be a part of.
Check out the photo gallery to see more from the event!