Wingman Foundation honors Georgia’s military service men and women

The Ultimate Wingman Georgia Military Heroes Award Banquet honored three Georgia service men and women and one specialized civilian, who are stationed or currently residents of Georgia.

The banquet was held on Nov. 15 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and hosted by the The Wingman Foundation, an organization founded by former, decorated U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman, and his brother Dave.

The inspiration of the award and foundation came from Rob Waldman’s service in the military. “’Wingman’ is an airforce term of having the support of another pilot during a dangerous situation,” said Rob Waldman. “But this sentiment is extending throughout the military, and we wanted to honor those service men and women who go above and beyond to do their part.”

Each award recipient received a cash prize of $4,000, which they donated a portion of to a charity of their choice. Chaplain, Capt. T. Brannon Bowman, one of the recipients, donated a portion of his prize money to Presbyterian and Reformed Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel.

Nominated by a colleague, Bowman said, “It was important for me to give back to PRJC because they provide resources for over 500 military chaplains.” Bowman is a part of the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, and served in Afghanistan.

Focused on its mission, The Wingman Foundation concentrates on raising funds and awareness for soldiers, veterans and their families in need, as well as other military-related charitable organizations. The focus of this year’s banquet increased awareness and financial support to veterans transitioning from the military into the civilian workplace. A portion of the banquet proceeds benefitted organizations such as Alpharetta-based Hire Heroes USA that help Georgia’s veterans overcome the challenges of entering the civilian workforce.

“We wanted to bring attention to the community about the value of hiring veterans in the work place,” said Rob Waldman, who wrote the bestseller, Never Fly Solo. “But as a bigger picture, through The Wingman Foundation, we want to give back to the military service men and women when they come home.”

The inaugural awards ceremony received over 250 guests and raised 20,000 that was distributed among Hire Heroes USA, Air Force AID Society, Wounded Warrior Project, Lonely Hearts Club of Dobbins AFB and Presbyterian and Reformed Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel.

“We want to spread the message of service, courage and teamwork. It was just wonderful to see that message represented through the people and community that came out to support these terrific men and women,” added Waldman. “We want to work with the community and its people to raise awareness for soldiers, veterans, and their families. It is not just saying ‘thank you’, but also just doing our part to take care of each other.”

To get involved with The Wingman Foundation, visit

In other news: From Nov. 18 through Dec. 24, Kroger grocery stores participated in the 2012 Can Hunger Campaign. After the six-week effort, the Atlanta division Kroger customers and associates helped raise more than $478,000 to benefit the local Feeding America Food Banks.