Our American Patriot of the Year Award is the Flagship of The Annual Patriot Invitational event. It recognizes the men and women who, through their actions and words similar to our great military Veterans, promote and carry out outstanding leadership skills during their lifetime. Their inspirational influence was left for the next generation of courageous heroes and leads us to our Great American Experiment: The Miracle of American Freedom, Democracy, Free Enterprise and Individualism protected every day by our Veterans.
The recipient of the American Patriot Award is chosen each year and the newest honoree is recognized at the annual Patriot Invitational event. The chosen nominee then receives a personalized etched crystal memento as a physical reminder of this noble achievement. Eligible nominees must have a recognizable history of excellence throughout their careers and demonstrate exemplary service to the community, specifically military Veterans and/or their families.
The Patriot Fund is proud to honor and present this award to the selected nominee of the year as another way to thank him/her for their various achievements made throughout their lives and their involvement and passion for aiding the Veteran community.
2022 Patriot of the Year: William LaVan
It is with great pleasure that The Patriot Fund announces William “Bill” LaVan as recipient of The American Patriot Award for our Patriot Invitational Event on Sunday, October 9th, 2022.
As Bill tells his life story from humble beginnings to a successful career, he has chosen to give back to our Veterans by giving to The Patriot Fund. The Board members of The Patriot Fund fully agree that Bill LaVan sets the standard for making the world better because of our commitment to our Veterans.
The Patriot Fund is proud to honor and present this award to Bill as another way to thank him for his various achievements made throughout his life and his involvement and passion for aiding our fellow Veteran heroes.
2021 Patriot of the Year: Ryan Peters
As a U.S. Navy SEAL, Commander Ryan E. Peters’ dedication to our country is well respected by all and we are proud to announce that he is the recipient of the 2021 American Patriot Award.
Upon successfully finishing training and certification as a Navy SEAL, CDR Peters completed three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving active duty in 2009, CDR Peters attended Rutgers School of Law, and was graduated in 2012. In 2013, he was recalled to active duty service and spent ten months forward-deployed with a SEAL element assigned to Special Operations Command South.
Outside of his Navy SEAL background, CDR Peters serves as the Commanding Officer of Special Boat Unit 18, a Reserve Unit composed of 7 Officers and over 150 Enlisted SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant Crewman, and Support Personnel, responsible for ensuring the Navy Reserve, Special Boat Unit 18 is operationally ready to mobilize in support of Naval Special Warfare Global Force Management Requirements.
Ryan E. Peters embodies everything that The American Patriot Award stands for and we are honored to present him with the presentation of this award. Congratulations, CDR Peters. Thank you for your service to our country and to our community!
Due to Covid-19 complications, we were unable to host our annual Patriot Invitational event in 2020 along with naming an American Patriot Award Recipient that year. Now that Covid-19 restrictions have been mostly lifted, we are back to hosting The Patriot Invitational & Announcing The American Patriot Award Recipient for the year 2021.
2019 Patriot of the Year: Don Tretola
It is with great pleasure that The Patriot Fund has named its second recipient of the American Patriot Award to Mr. Don Tretola, on Monday, September 23rd, 2019. Eligible nominees must have a recognizable history of excellence throughout their careers and demonstrate exemplary service to the community, specifically military Veterans and/or their families. Don is a stellar match for this year’s presentation.
After joining the military and attending college, Mr. Tretola began his career with PSE&G in 1971 and has over 37 years of service with a diverse background in Management and Public Affairs. He currently serves as Chief Public Affairs Officer with Allies, Inc., an organization that serves adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Don holds board positions throughout New Jersey including the State of New Jersey Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, Office of Department of Defense, Middlesex County Chiefs of Police and many others. Congratulations, Don. Thank you for your service to our community!
2018 Patriot of the Year: James Brennan, Jr.
It is with great pleasure that The Patriot Fund has named its first recipient of the American Patriot Award to Mr. Jim Brennan, CEO of SEA BOX, on Monday, September 17th, 2018. Eligible nominees must have a recognizable history of excellence throughout their careers and demonstrate exemplary service to the community, specifically military Veterans and/or their families. Jim is a perfect match for the first presentation.
SEA BOX has supplied innovative shipping containers and expeditionary shelters to all branches of the armed services to aid in their service of our country. Jim has done so much for military installations as one more voice of American exceptionalism to support our troops and worldwide effort for the safety of other societies.
The Board members of The Patriot Fund fully agree Jim Brennan sets the standard for all awardees in the future, making the world better because of our commitment, like Jim Brennan’s, for a better world!