I’ve seen a lot of good entrances over the years covering fetes in L.A. Richard Branson going through the doors of the Hotel Roosevelt dressed as a Maharaja on a camel, for one. MOCA Boardmember Dallas Price Van Breda roaring into one of the museum’s gala one year on a Harley for another. But Sky Diving Innovations and former Navy SEALs parachuting down onto the beach in front of the Jonathan Club the other night for a SEAL-NSW Family Foundation fundraiser (monies benefit Naval Special Warfare personnel and their families) just might top ‘em all. Some divers went tandem with party-guests while others did tricks all the way down. One diver jumped with an enormous American flag. It was the first time the event was held in L.A., and if you ever want to get a tear in your eye, just be around a bunch of military personnel (active and retired) when they are playing the Star Spangled Banner. You end up standing as ramrod straight as they all do.
The beachside to-do was presented by Michael A. Liberty (yea, I know, good name) and his Liberty Family Foundation and Mozido Inc. The foundation gave $1 mil right there on the spot to the SEALS-NSW Family Foundation (this big check was printed on part of a tent). General James Mattis, former commander of US Central Command, spoke to the crowd along with an Iraqi soldier who fought with the SEALS whose codename was Johnny Walker. Even Vicente Fox (former Mexican president) got up to address the large group on the beach. There were interesting gadgets everywhere and folks partied into the night. It was an over-the-top bash for a serious organization, prompting General Mattis to joke, “They are not elite because they carry a comb and a mirror with them.”
Photographs by Steve Sherman Photography and Skydiving Innovations