By D. Channing Muller Posted June 22, 2011, 2:15 PM EDT
WASHINGTON The Bob Woodruff Foundation hosted its inaugural Washington Stand Up for Heroes gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on Thursday night. After four years in a comedy show format in New York, the event moved to Washington for the first time, bringing along headlining entertainment from The Daily Show's Jon Stewart and Grammy-winning band Train.
More than 750 local media, foundation supporters, and current and past servicemen and servicewomen from the five branches of the military came out to raise money for the foundation's efforts to help veterans after their service. Among the attendees were 75 patients from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda.
The organization's founders, Bob and Lee Woodruff, hosted the night's program, which included special recognition of past and present military personnel in attendance, as well as a keynote speech by Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently announced his retirement. After Mullen's speech, two large screens on either side of the stage showed a short video about the foundation and its beneficiaries, created by Woodruff and ABC News, with a special cameo by Elmo.
Following the three-course dinner catered by the venue, comedian Jon Stewart took the stage for a 20-minute performance with jokes ranging from the latest Washington scandal surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner to religion and his family. Train then performed a three-song set including hits “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Drops of Jupiter".
Though final fund-raising totals were not available at press time, the event had 19 sponsors like Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, and BAE Systems who donated between $25,000 and $100,000 each. The Woodruffs created the foundation after Bob suffered a severe head injury while reporting on the Iraq War for ABC News in 2006.
Correction: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the sponsorship dollars contributed by the companies mentioned.