The National Guard Educational Foundation recognized 19 major donors Saturday evening during a special reception at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The donors recently contributed a combined $250,000 to the foundation through its Legion de Lafayette program, which is reserved for gifts of at least $10,000.
The NGEF preserves and shares all 386 years of the Guard’s story.
Among the NGEF's programs is the National Guard Memorial Museum, which boasts 5,600 square feet of artifacts, images and interactive exhibits.
Recent benefactors included two individuals, five couples, 10 corporations and two private organizations.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Spencer was among the individual contributors.
Spencer, a former Utah Army Guard senior noncommissioned officer, says the Guard is his family's business.
“The National Guard has been my life,” he said. "It is only fitting to give back to preserve and promote our rich and significant history.
"My father served and retired from the Guard," Spencer recalled. "I served and retired from the Guard. And my daughter is currently serving and will retire from the Guard."
“I hope that this foundation inspires more family legacies of service to our states and nation."
Retired Col. Dennis Hunsicker, a former member of the NGAUS board of directors from Delaware, expressed a similar sentiment about his gift.
“My modest support of the NGEF is the least I can do to further the public education of the critical importance of the National Guard to both the country and states," said Hunsicker, who is both the son of a Guardsman and the father of one.
Spencer and Hunsicker's donations were their first gifts to the NGEF.
Retired Gen. Joseph Lengyel and his wife Sally were also first-time contributors.
“We are so lucky to have been part of the National Guard,” said Joseph Lengyel, the former chief of the National Guard Bureau.
"We love what it is, and we love what it does our nation and for our states," he added. "We love everything about it, especially the people."
Besides the Lengyels, the other couples who made donations to the NGEF included:
- Maj. Gen. Ondra Berry, the NGAUS vice chair-Air, and his wife, Margo, of Nevada;
- Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham and wife, Nichi, of Maine;
- Retired Brig. Gen. David Fleming III and his wife, Andrea, of Delaware; and
- Retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the NGAUS chairman before the association's current chairman, and his wife, Debbie, of Arizona.
Each pair was making a first gift except for the Flemings, who were adding to a previous $10,000 donation.
Farnham and Fleming are additionally former members of the NGAUS board.
The corporate gifts included seven companies:
- AM General;
- Northrop Grumman;
- Textron; and
Of the corporate donors, five companies were adding to earlier contributions.
The NGEF also recognized Google Public Sector, USA Up Star and Veterans4You for initial major donations to the foundation.
The 29th Division Association and the Mile-Hi NGAUS Conference 2019 Foundation were also honored for first-time donations Saturday evening.
Learn more about the NGEF here.