Prudential Financial, Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils honored our nation's current and former military service members on April 29 during the team's 10th annual Military Appreciation Night presented by Prudential. The limited capacity crowd of 3,500 at the arena and fans tuning in from home watched the Devils defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3, as well as a host of tributes to service members and their families.
Military service members have provided crucial assistance on the home front during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially now, as many have been called upon to aid the country's vaccine rollout. In honor of their service, the Devils welcomed 100 of those stationed in Newark, New Jersey, to attend the night's game.
'As an Army veteran, I feel like I have the best job at the company, because I get to do work that provides meaningful employment and financial security for military families,' said Jim Beamesderfer, vice president and head of Veterans Initiatives at Prudential Financial. 'During Military Appreciation Night at The Rock, we're able to get the community involved showing appreciation and gratitude for the military, and it's a wonderful opportunity to do more to help the military community at large.'
In the lead up to the game, fans were able to submit digital letters to be distributed by Prudential and the Devils to troops currently serving overseas.
Devils players wore military-inspired jerseys during pregame warm-ups, which were later auctioned online to benefit the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which provides a free, 24/7 national peer support hotline and grief resources for families and individuals dealing with the loss of a military loved one. Prior to the game, Devils forward and alternate captain, Miles Wood, met with eight TAPS families via Zoom to share his gratitude and support for their dedication and sacrifice.
'By sharing our mission with fans, we are able to reach more military families, friends and battle buddies who would benefit from the care and resources that TAPS provides 24/7,' said Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of TAPS and 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. 'Prudential is a lifelong supporter of our TAPS families and the partner that brought us here tonight.'
Players on the hockey team of the New Jersey Warriors, a nonprofit program dedicated to providing support to disabled veterans, were honored as honorary captains of the game, and Master Sergeant Melissa Simpson, USAF (Retired), 2021 TAPS Military Mentor of the Year, was honored as one of the Heroes Among Us, presented by Prudential. The national anthem was performed virtually by USO Show Troupe members.
Prudential Financial, through its Veterans Initiatives Office, has a long-standing commitment to supporting our military, including veterans service organizations, locally and nationally, and to be an employer of choice for veterans and military spouses.
Earlier this year, the company partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide veterans, transitioning service members and their families with access to financial wellness education and resources to improve their economic well-being and financial stability at no cost. Throughout the pandemic, Prudential has provided support for the military community through partnerships with organizations like Operation Gratitude, VeteransPlus and the El Paso Community Foundation.