November 05, 2019
USS Constitution Museum Honored Governor Charlie Baker, Medal of Honor Recipient CAPT Thomas G. Kelley, USN (Ret.)
CHARLESTOWN, MA (November 4, 2019)—On Wednesday, October 30, over 700 guests honored Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Medal of Honor recipient CAPT Thomas G. Kelley, USN (Ret.) for their dedication to community and service at the USS Constitution Museum’s A Salute to Service Gala.
Governor Charlie Baker received the Charles Francis Adams Award, named for one of the Museum’s founders, which is given annually to a person who has contributed extensively to the betterment of the community. Governor Baker has made historic investments in K-12 education, increased support for vocational and technical schools, and expanded early college opportunities for high school students. Governor Baker has put Massachusetts at the forefront of fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic, doubling spending on prevention, education, treatment, and recovery and signing two major bills that have served as models for other states. Confronted with the challenges of rising energy costs and a changing climate, Governor Baker has taken nation-leading steps to diversify the Commonwealth’s energy portfolio and secure progress toward greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Governor Baker reflected on the history of Constitution and the commitment and sacrifices made by generations of her sailors. “That’s what makes the USS Constitution Museum so special and so important,” he said. “For me, this award is especially poignant and appreciated.”
The recipient of the USS Constitution Museum Lifetime Achievement Award was CAPT Thomas G. Kelley, USN (Ret.). This award is given to a person whose distinguished contributions to our nation embody the Museum’s mission and inspire excitement about naval service, maritime heritage, and the American experience. On June 15, 1969 he led eight river assault craft boats on a mission to extract a U.S. Army infantry company from South Vietnam under heavy fire. For his “extraordinary courage under fire, and his selfless devotion to duty” he was awarded the Medal of Honor from President Nixon in 1970. Despite receiving serious head wounds which included the loss of an eye, CAPT Kelley remained on active military duty and later served as Chief of Staff for the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Korea and Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. In retirement, CAPT Kelley continues to advocate on behalf of veterans, notably serving as Past-President of the Medal of Honor Society.
CAPT Kelley thanked the Museum for the award, and for “carrying on this tradition of educating the American public about why this country is a bright and shining light as a beacon for the rest of the world.”
USS Constitution Museum president Anne Grimes Rand described the Museum’s work engaging visitors in the stories of “Old Ironsides,” naval service, maritime heritage, and the American experience, as well as a look ahead at what’s to come. “We have an exciting vision for the future. We are not resting on our laurels; instead we are challenging ourselves to build a better Museum,” she said.
Paul George, the Museum’s chairman of the board, welcomed the group and acknowledged the honorees and special guests, including Stephen Brodeur, the chair and founding sponsor of Mayflower Sails 2020. “From Mayflower to USS Constitution to 2019, Boston’s maritime heritage continue to shine. The values represented by ‘Old Ironsides’ – courage, leadership, teamwork, perseverance, ingenuity, and service – endure today,” said Mr. George.
The event, held at the Seaport World Trade Center, was both the highest attendance ever for a USS Constitution Museum Gala and raised gross revenue surpassing $650,000, a record breaking amount. The 146 sponsors included: Presenting Sponsors Nancy and Rick Kelleher and Sherry and Alan Leventhal; Leading Sponsors Aon | Reinsurance Solutions, Eileen and Jack Connors, Deloitte, Liberty Mutual, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Daniel E. Smith and Elizabeth Riley, and TigerRisk Partners; and Fleet Admiral Sponsors Boston Harbor Cruises, CapAcuity, Cognizant, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel, Ernst & Young, Grand Circle Travel, Hampshire House, Louis Karger, Roger Marino and Kathleen Campanella, The MathWorks, Inc., McKinsey & Company, PwC, Mr. Taylor B. Wagenseil, and Willis Towers Watson.
About the USS Constitution Museum
The USS Constitution Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the stories of “Old Ironsides” and those associated with her. This award-winning, educational non-profit welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year and provides a hands-on, minds-on environment where inter-generational groups seeking an enjoyable, educational experience can have fun while learning and exploring history together. The USS Constitution Museum’s mission is to engage all ages in the story of “Old Ironsides” to spark excitement about maritime heritage, naval service, and the American experience.
For more information: www.usscm.org