Folks, check out this AMAZING email we received from Caesars Entertainment Corporation CEO Gary Loveman.
Loveman sends out a weekly email (the eWrap) to all Caesars employees. This edition of eWrap was dedicated to his experience at the 2011 Quicken Loans Carrier Classic.
He was truly moved and inspired by the event, as you’ll see in a second when you read his email. I absolutely knew I had to share it here on the Quicken Loans blog once I read it, and he graciously gave us permission to reprint it.
Please enjoy an amazing recap of one of the greatest events in college sports history and certainly one of the greatest Veterans Days in recent memory. As a veteran myself, reading this makes me proud.
We produce a lot of great events in this company, but our partner in Ohio, Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans, hosted one of the most moving and unique events I have ever experienced last Friday on Veterans Day. For this one remarkable afternoon, the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy Fleet, was transformed into a basketball court surrounded by 8,000 seats.
Dan’s alma mater, the Michigan State Spartans, kicked-off their 2011-12 men’s basketball season with a game against the top-ranked University of North Carolina Tar Heels. Although this was a dream game for fans of college basketball such as myself, the game was more significant as a showcase for our nation to show its gratitude to our active and retired military heroes. Seven thousand of the available seats were reserved for our military service men and women, all of whom looked fabulous in the dress uniforms of their respective branches of service. From three star generals to enlisted infantrymen and sailors, the stands were filled with the best our country has to offer. And they had the opportunity to simultaneously bask in the glow of a nation’s appreciation and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime event devoted to showcasing them and their contributions to our liberty.
Shortly after the game started, there was an unexpected pause as a horn on the ship sounded loudly to mark the daily Evening Colors Ceremony to lower the ship’s flag. All 8,000 of us stood, and the military men and women saluted, as the flag came down the pole and was neatly folded by the Navy team. I can assure you, there was not one American on the ship or watching on TV that was not filled with pride at that moment, sharing a sense of common loyalty to a cause we all cherish. As the sun set over San Diego harbor and the lights of the city began to shine in the distance, many of us stood at the edge of the ship to enjoy a view few will ever get a chance to see again. Even coaches Tom Izzo from Michigan State and Roy Williams from UNC said that this was the most impactful event in which they had ever been involved, and that includes a few NCAA championships between them.
When the game was over, the crowd was entertained by two sets of musicians, Five for Fighting and Billy Currington, both of whom could not have been more complimentary of our military and their service to our country. The concert provided a fitting end to a memorable day. By 9 p.m., all the guests had left the USS Carl Vinson, and the ship and its 4,500 sailors went back to preparing for its next deployment to the Middle East, which will begin in a few weeks.
Every once in a while we get to experience situations where the individual entities involved work together to support a greater collective outcome. I think we enjoy this cycle of success in our business often, when great service by our colleagues leads to memorable visits for our guests, which, in turn, provides the resources to invest in our people and our properties. My congratulations goes to our partner, Dan Gilbert, and his team at Quicken Loans, for taking what seemed like an unlikely idea and turning it into an event that was the talk of Veterans Day for our military and civilian friends alike.