ROCHESTER, N.Y. — November is a month to honor, thank and remember American heroes who serve for our country, past and present. This year, just two days before Veterans Day, Capt. Sam Brown, U.S. Army (retired), will come to Rochester to serve as the keynote speaker and guest of honor at the second annual Salute: A Toast to Our Veterans, hosted by CDS Life Transitions and Warrior Salute Veteran Services. The event will take place 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Strathallan Hotel’s Rooftop Ballroom, located at 550 East Ave.  The evening is sponsored by Christa Construction, Kennedy Mechanical Plumbing & Heating, Inc., RADEC Corporation and longtime CDS supporters Robert and Deirdre Relph.
 
Brown is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as a platoon leader in Afghanistan, where he led soldiers in the Kandahar desert in the midst of the “birthplace” of the Taliban. While responding as the backup to an ambushed patrol in September 2008, his vehicle drove over a bomb placed to disrupt any support to the engaged U.S. soldiers. Brown suffered third-degree burns on 30 percent of his body, mostly places his individual body armor did not cover, but about 85 percent of his body was affected because doctors used skin from areas that were not burned.
 
U.S. Army story states, “When Capt. Sam Brown was injured in Afghanistan, he saw everything he had planned for his future disappear. Little did he know that what he went through, in fact, helped him discover one part of his life he thought he would never find. ‘I had plans for my career and decided a few years after that I would find a beautiful woman and settle down and start a family. I thought that was all gone after I got injured.’"
 
As a soldier unable to continue service in combat, Brown was medically retired in 2011 from the U.S. Army and redirected his leadership to helping wounded soldiers and returning veterans. He became a nationally recognized advocate for wounded warriors through national television news, radio appearances and print features, as well as conference speeches. Additionally, he has spent a great deal supporting various veteran-based not-for-profits across the country, plays an active role today in politics and mentors fellow veterans. Personally, Brown is active at Watermark Church in his hometown of Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Amy, and their three children.
 
“This year has been a very important milestone for CDS Life Transitions as we celebrate 40 years in Greater Rochester,” said Sankar Sewnauth, president and CEO of CDS Life Transitions. “We opened Warrior Salute Veterans Services in 2010. It’s built around the unique needs of each service member. We offer individual mental health counseling, group therapy, support therapies, including music and art, case management services, transitional housing and more. I met Capt. Sam Brown after his presentation in Virginia in May and was truly inspired. I knew Rochester would love him. He is an inspiration for us all and we could not think of a stronger ambassador for veterans to join us in our city this November.”
 
General admission featuring beer and wine tastings from local breweries and wineries, with food pairings, will begin at 6:30 p.m. The formal presentation will begin at 7:45 p.m. Limited tickets are available for $100 and can be purchased here. All proceeds will benefit Warrior Salute Veteran Services.
 
A 40-year-old classic Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, donated by Marina Auto Group, will be raffled off at the end of the evening. Winners do not have to be present to win. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $20 by contacting Tom DeRoller at 585-347-1205. 
 
For more information on CDS Life Transitions and Warrior Salute Veteran Services, click here