The President of Smith & Wollensky, the noted steakhouse brand of restaurants, didn’t realize where just a few words would lead him. And yet it was just a few words that set Michael Feighery and his company on a path toward a veteran’s benefit that was kicked off this week in Boston.
“I’d just been promoted into the position of president of this wonderful steakhouse company,” says Feighery. “I was invited to hear a young man speak—Eric Greitens,” who is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and now founder and CEO of The Mission Continues.
“I heard Eric talk, and it wasn’t about where he had gone or what he had experienced. It was about who he had served.”
Feighery says he was “taken aback and astonished at how someone so humble could gather so many people around him.” He adds, “He showed me that people don’t follow titles; they follow people. I took that concept back to my restaurant company and I hope in some way we have all been impacted by that.”
The impact came full circle this week when Smith & Wollensky announced its partnership with The Mission Continues, along with a new program to help raise money to support “fellowships” for the post-9/11 veterans served by the not-for-profit organization.
From November 1 until the end of the year, the restaurant is making its two signature wines available at a special price for online sales, with proceeds going to The Mission Continues. The Private Reserve Red & White Gift Pack includes handcrafted wines from Vintage Wines. The Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Kunde Family Estate in the Sonoma Valley; the Private Reserve Meritage is from Girard in Napa Valley.
Kim Lapine, Vice President of Marketing for Smith & Wollensky, calls it a fitting tribute to veterans. “We call it our ‘Red, White and You,’” she says. “It’s a way to help our customers be a part of giving back to those who have served in the military.”
The Mission Continues awards community service fellowships to post-9/11 veterans. The chosen Fellows serve for six months at a local non-profit organization, giving them a chance to acclimate back into daily life while still satisfying their desire to lead and serve. It also puts skills learned in the military into use to help community-based organizations with their own particular challenges.
Proceeds from the wine sales will help Fellows throughout the United States bridge the gap between their military and civilian life.
The Green Carpet Event, co-sponsored by Boston Common Magazine, was held at Smith & Wollensky at the Castle in Boston, where invited guests were served a sampling from the restaurant’s new Fall/Winter menu. Items included Wasabi Pea Crusted Tuna with a Pomegranate Black Garlic Sauce; Grilled Shrimp with Apple Fennel Slaw and a Blood Orange Vinaigrette; Seared Scallops with Cider Braised Beef, Spinach and Blue Cheese Fondue; and a Coffee and Cocoa Rubbed Tenderloin of Beef with Ancho Chile Cream.
Guests also heard from Spencer Kympton, a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot who now serves as Chief Operating Officer of The Mission Continues, as well as two Fellows from the program, Natasha Young and Jeffrey Hall.
It was just a few words, but the people at the Green Carpet Event were visibly impacted by their stories, just as Feighery was when he heard their founder a year ago. Who knows what their donation will do to change the life of a veteran?
It was just a few words.
But it made a difference.
For more information about the wine purchase, go to www.smithandwollensky.com. Sales start November 1.
See more at Smith & Wollensky’s website.
Event Co-Hosted by:
Special Thanks to:
The Food Channel’s participation in event coverage was sponsored by Smith & Wollensky.