Nominees sought for inaugural Minuteman Service Award

Tuesday September 28, 2021

The North Shore Chamber of Commerce and UniCare are joining forces this fall to co-host the inaugural Salute to Veterans Breakfast honoring Massachusetts active-duty service men and women and veterans.

The event — set for Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 a.m., just two days before Veterans Day, at the Boston Marriott Peabody — will be a celebration of patriotism, service and the nation’s military and veterans communities.

The program will include the presentation of the new Minuteman Service Award recognizing remarkable acts of selfless dedication and outstanding leadership to the nation on behalf of active-duty military or veterans.

“Giving back and serving those who serve is who we are at UniCare — it’s embedded in our culture and in the work we do every day to advance better health for our members and our communities,” said David Morales, general manager of UniCare, a health benefits company in Massachusetts. 

“In that spirit of service, we’re honored to partner with the North Shore Chamber to recognize those who have selflessly served our nation in defense of our freedoms.”

Karen Andreas, president and chief executive officer of the North Shore Chamber, said she is proud to join with one of the Chamber’s dedicated members in recognizing the commitment and valor of the nation’s active military and veterans.

“Service is a key component of the Chamber,” she said, “and giving back to those who have served and continue to serve our country to uphold our democracy is paramount to our mission not only as members of the business community, but as citizens of our greater community.”

Two Minuteman Service Awards will be presented at the 2021 Salute to Veterans breakfast — one to an individual and one to an organization or business that has demonstrated exceptional service to the military and/or veterans community through volunteering, advocacy, community projects or other actions.

Nominees must reside, do business or operate in Massachusetts and have devoted significant time to public service in the local community and/or the commonwealth. Current or prior military service is not a requirement for the award.

To nominate a deserving individual, business or organization, go to The deadline for nominations is Friday, Oct. 1.

Decorated retired U.S. Army Sgt. Major Kyle Lamb — who served in the military for over 21 years, the majority of which with the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces — will be the keynote speaker for the breakfast. Lamb participated in many conflicts — Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq as well as in the battle made famous by the movie “Black Hawk Down” in Mogadishu, Somalia. 

U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Marisol A. Chalas, the first Latina National Guard Black Hawk helicopter pilot, will also be a featured speaker. The Dominican-born Chalas was 9 when she moved to the U.S. in 1982, settling in Massachusetts. She became an enlisted soldier in 1990. Today, she is the Reserve Schools Branch Chief at Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

The Host Committee for the Salute to Veterans breakfast includes:

  • Jennifer DeLuca, executive director of Fisher House of Boston, which supports military families
  • Retired Army Sgt. Gumersindo Gomez, executive director of the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts
  • Retired Army Lt. Col. John Hall, former board chair of the North Shore Chamber
  • Chief Warrant Officer Robert Hallinan, Massachusetts National Guard
  • Major Gen. Gary Keefe, Massachusetts National Guard 
  • Retired Brig. Gen. Joseph Milano, owner, Boston’s Union Oyster House
  • Adrienne Mitchell, former National Guard aviation operations specialist
  • Brig. Gen. Jim Vallee, Esq., partner at Nixon Peabody
  • Joanne Patton of the Patton Homestead in Hamilton, daughter-in-law of Gen. George S. Patton and widow of Major Gen. George Patton IV

Tickets to the Salute to Veterans Breakfast are $45 for North Shore Chamber members and $65 for nonmembers. A number of free tickets are being set aside for veterans from throughout the region, and sponsors are being sought to support those tickets. 

To reserve your tickets, visit–34/details. For details about sponsorships, contact Cheryl Begin, the Chamber’s director of sales and marketing, at 978-774-8565, ext. 101, or To learn more about the event, visit

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