French-American Chamber of Commerce Michigan Chapter to celebrate 70th anniversary of D-Day at annual Gala and Awards ceremony

FACC Michigan Chapter logo 2014

May 23 black-tie event to commemorate Michigan D-Day heroes and celebrate defense ties between Michigan and France with Senator Carl Levin and other dignitaries

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 586.817.8414, barbara@eafocus.com; Jon Block, French-American Chamber of Commerce board member, 248.505.0606, jblock8586@wowway.com

Detroit, Mich. — March 18, 2014 — The French American Chamber of Commerce Michigan Chapter (FACC Michigan), a not-for-profit business organization committed to the improvement of economic, commercial and financial relations between France and the United States, will host its annual gala and awards ceremony on Friday, May 23 at the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC) in Detroit. This year’s gala will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings and honor the special ties that bring France and the United States together through the defense industry, where France spends approximately $60 billion annually.

Leading an anticipated 250 attendees in an evening of celebration and reflection will be guests of honor and speakers Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services; Mr. Frederic Lefebvre, member of the National Assembly of France, representing the First Constituency for French North American residents overseas; and Brigadier General Bruno Caitucoli, Defense Attaché at the Embassy of France. Several D-Day combat veterans from Michigan will also be in attendance at the event and restored WWII military vehicles will be parked at the DAC entrance. All proceeds from the evening will be donated to the ’Michigan Remembers’ project, according to Cedric Ballarin, FACC Michigan president and a vice president in the Michigan headquarters of France-based Faurecia.

“In addition to commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we will celebrate Michigan’s defense industry and its contribution to the economy – past and present,” said Ballarin. “And most importantly, in the spirit of engagement and support, we are proud to donate all proceeds from the gala to, ’Michigan Remembers’. We want to insure that the people of Michigan never forget the sacrifices made by the 419 soldiers from Michigan, 362 who are physically buried in Normandy and 57 of whom are missing in action or buried at sea.”

The ’Michigan Remembers’ project will send 180 American students from the Lakeshore (Berrien County) High School marching band to participate in the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6 in France. The students will honor the 419 Fallen by pouring sand from Michigan on their grave site, march in the parade in Ste-Mere-Eglise, perform on Omaha Beach by the Normandy American Cemetery for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and finally perform in Paris in the Jardin du Luxembourg for members of the French Senate. In addition, ‘Michigan Remembers’, in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Education, will distribute teaching packets to all Michigan high schools to ensure that students never forget the sacrifices made on D-Day.

The French-American Chamber of Commerce gala and awards ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and a silent auction, dinner at 8 p.m. and speakers beginning at 9 p.m. Gala tickets are $160 per person for FACC members and $190 per person for non-members and sponsorship opportunities are available. To purchase tickets for the black-tie gala, donate items for the silent auction or become a sponsor or for additional information, please contact Stephanie Salvadero, executive director of the FACC Michigan, at salvaderos.faccmi@gmail.com.

About the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chapter
The Michigan Chapter of the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC Michigan) is a member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce – the oldest bilateral chamber of commerce in the United States, comprised of 19 chapters in major cities across the nation representing more than 5,000 member organizations. The FACC is a non-profit, non-political organization dedicated to the development of commercial relations between French and American businesses. Learn more at www.faccmi.org.

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