April 2, 2007
USO Metro presents to Daniel
Lifetime Achievement Award
Upon arrival in Washington I was picked up by my dear friend Dick, who has been the Transportation Manager for the USO as long as I can remember. This was my fifth USO dinner and I looked forward to the after-party, with as much excitement as I did the actual event. It has been a tradition, that after the dinner we all get together in a room on the first floor and sing and have a good time.
First the dinner: as is the norm with this function, the guest list was very impressive. This year it included First Lady Laura Bush, General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, country music singer Trace Adkins, WWE superstars Bret Hart and Chris Wolinski, among others.
The night began with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by the current Miss America, Lauren Nelson. Next I sang "God Bless America". There were several awards given to service men and women who were injured in Iraq, who had showed extreme courage and valor. These awards and their stories were very moving and inspirational.
A highlight of the evening for me was receiving Metro's Lifetime Achievement Award for my work with the USO Care Package Program. Laura Bush was on hand for the presentation and after my rendition of “Into the Fire”, shook my hand and complimented the performance. I would have to say that I felt blessed. Now on to the after-party!
We gathered in the back room as we do every year, with Miss America, President of Metro USO Elaine Rogers, Trace Adkins, WWE superstars, and of course, Connie Stevens who is an icon for the USO, and many others. Also this year for the first time was included the very funny and talented Fred Travolina and his wife Louise. Each of us in turn sang, and told a few jokes. It was a wonderful time. At the end of the evening, Elaine presented me with a second award. It was a shadow box which contained the American Flag and an inscription that read “Presented to Daniel Rodriguez. This flag was flown over Camp Freedom Iraq in your honor. Congratulations on your Lifetime Achievement.”
I pledged to continue my work with the USO for as long as there is need.
Songs for the Soldiers
Daniel's personal project - "Songs for the Soldiers" and “Concerts for the Troops” series.
Daniel kicked off this philanthropic effort by donating himself more than a thousand Cds. Then he began to travel and speak at different organizations to gain those financial backers who were vital to make this a success. He raised over $400,000 to send 40,000 care packages to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that included a copy of “In The Presence.” This photo displays one of those sponsored Cd's at the USO warehouse ready to be packaged & distributed to troops heading overseas.