The sixth annual SEAL Family Foundation fundraiser took place at the Del Mar Country Club Saturday evening, which supports families of SEALs, helps former SEALs transition to civilian life and do fun things with children who have lost their fathers.
Retired SEAL and recipient of the Medal of Honor Mike Thornton said the families of fallen SEALs didn’t have much support after Vietnam so they started an organization to make sure they had the help they needed.
Thornton served as a SEAL in Vietnam, and he was served with one of the original teams that started SEAL Team Six. He did four tours in Vietnam and retired after Desert Storm.
“We lost 61 SEALs in Vietnam,” he told NBC 7, “and we were a very small unit back then.” At the time, Thornton said, there were only 236 SEALs in total.
“America saw how we were treated in Vietnam and it’s a lot different now today,” Thornton said. “I keep coming back [to the event], so long as the good lord lets me have the energy, because freedom is not free.”
Some big celebrities were there to support the service members, including former NFL running back Reggie Bush, actor Rob Lowe and Captain Richard Phillips of the movie “Captain Phillips.” Phillips and his crew were rescued by SEAL Team Six after his ship was hijacked by Somali Pirates.
“It’s very great that we know when they’re having problems at home we give them a check and we write the check … and we get them out of those problems,” Thornton said of the foundation. “[I’m] very happy … that we are taking care of our own.”
The day started with a special skydiving event, then a golf tournament, followed by a reception.
“We can’t change the past but we sure can make the future much better for all Americans and for this great nation,” he said.