Washington, D.C., October 10, 2008 – A specially-commissioned acrylic painting paying tribute to the close relationship between US and UK troops was unveiled at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. Thursday evening, October 9. British Ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald and Frank Lasch, founder and chairman of Azalea Charities, unveiled the painting.
Azalea Charities commissioned the 'Side by Side' painting by internationally recognized artist Dean J. Baer. Funds raised by sale of prints, note cards and other images of the painting will be shared between Azalea Charities and the British Army Benevolent Fund America to benefit their wounded soldiers and their families.
In his speech, Ambassador Sheinwald expressed his appreciation to the US Army for their co-operation with UK troops:
"I want to thank the US armed forces for the work that they do alongside our armed services, both institutionally in terms of the military links between our two nations, and on a personal level, for the friendship and help that is shown to us all every day by our colleagues and neighbours in the American military."
The Ambassador also offered his thanks to Azalea Charities for the work they are doing:
"I am delighted to welcome the Azalea charity to the Embassy this evening, and to support their efforts to help look after both British and American servicemen and women who have been wounded whilst serving on operations."
Brigadier Phil Jones, Military Attaché, British Defense Staff at the Embassy, spoke of the “rock solid support, collaboration, professional hospitality and friendship” that the US has shown the UK military. He also praised Frank Lasch and Azalea Charities: “He and his board embody the magnificent spirit of charitable volunteerism that remains so strong here in the United States.”
Acknowledging their thanks, Lasch said: “I hope everyone – citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom alike – will recognize this painting as a symbol of our appreciation to Great Britain and its troops for standing with us in the fight against terrorism. We also hope that everyone will recognize the urgent need to help the wounded soldiers on both sides.”
In April, Azalea Charities presented a check for $10,000 to the British Army Benevolent Fund America. Prince Leopold d’Arenberg of Europe provided the funding. Prince d’Arenberg’s interest in Aid for Wounded Warriors stems from the liberation by an American lieutenant of his mother and her sisters from a Nazi death camp in 1945.
About Azalea Charities
Azalea Charities is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Prince William Country, Virginia. The organization is staffed entirely by volunteers who donate their time, talent and money. Azalea Charities raises funds for Aid for Wounded Warriors and its community charities through membership fees, private donations and sponsorship of special events such as the Marine Corps Marathon and the Azalea Classic Pro-Am Invitational Golf Classic, the organization's keystone event held each May. Beyond minimal expenses, all the funds they raise go to their charitable core causes.
The largest recipient of funding from Azalea Charities this past year was Aid for Wounded Warriors, which received $168,000. Azalea Charities awarded $42,000 to community charities and is distributing an additional $50,000 to its core charities this fall. Since its inception in June 2004, Azalea Charities has distributed more than $500,000 in funding to Aid for Wounded Warriors. Azalea Charities Chairman Frank Lasch has announced plans to increase fundraising efforts this year.
About Artist Dean Baer
A native of Wisconsin, Dean has lived throughout the US and Europe, he is a United States Air Force veteran. He has studied art in the US and abroad in Germany and Italy, and defines himself as an Expressionist / Abstract painter. If you would like to know more about Dean Baer and his artwork, please visit: www.DeanJBaer.com
For more information, contact:
Frank Lasch, Chairman, Azalea Charities, Inc.
For more photos, contact:
Vicky Torraca, Senior Press Officer, British Embassy