By Kristie Kubovic, Director of Communications, Shale Media Group
Edited by Mindy Gattner, Editor, Shale Media Group
Photos by Shale Media Group
Shale Media Group (SMG) hosted its Elite Energy Event (E³), Benefit for Fallen Heroes, on June 26th, 2014 in front of the Holiday Inn Express in Bentleyville, PA under six tents. All of SMG’s Elite Energy Events revolve around energy; however, this E³ event was even more special as the event linked America’s energy future with American security as SMG teamed up with Mike’s Hiking For Heroes (MHFH), a project dedicated to honoring the legacy of every service member who has been killed in action during the Global War on Terror (GWOT). To date, this number has grown to over 6,800 heroes, who have been killed in action during the GWOT.
Tejas Gosai, CEO, Shale Media Group, announced, “We are fortunate that our area sits on top of the vast Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, which offer America energy security. Our Elite Energy Events are designed to make energy education fun through a professional event feel. Our country is one of the few to have vast reserves such as the Marcellus, Utica, Bakken and Barnett Shale plays. We are now drilling shale oil and gas eight to ten times more efficiently through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which leads to America energy security. We take pride in U.S. energy security.” That pride in American energy security is what brought about the special event, Benefit for Fallen Heroes.
The benefit included a group of four Acapella Singers, who sang the National Anthem; an Honor Guard composed of members from the Bentleyville American Legion Post 165, the Centerville American Legion Post 705 and the Charleroi American Legion Post 22, who performed a gun salute; two buglers playing taps; and Furman Graft, a local Chaplin from the Bentleyville American Legion Post 165, who said a blessing.
Gosai emceed the event, which included Rick Stouffer, Senior Energy Editor, Shale Media Group; Kristie Kubovic, Director of Communications, Shale Media Group; Ken Kaszak, Financial Advisor, Trustmont Group; Bob Beatty, President, “O” Ring CNG Fuel Systems; and Mark Faldowski, Co-Founder Mike’s Hiking for Heroes as speakers.
First up, Stouffer briefed attendees on recent shale oil and gas news, which included updates on both Pennsylvania and North Dakota’s governors and their dealings with the shale oil and gas industry. Kubovic connected American energy to American security, while Kaszak talked about Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and their relevance in the energy industry. Beatty added facts about foreign oil and their relevance to the U.S. shale oil and gas industry.
The evening then focused on Mikes Hiking for Heroes, an organization founded by friends, Mike Viti and Mark Faldowski. Both earned appointments to the United States Military Academy at West Point, played on the Army Football team, served in the United States Army and were deployed to Afghanistan. As a civilian, Viti saw the war taking a back page since the time he fought. He decided he wanted to do something about this and called up Faldowski of Washington, PA, and informed him that he wanted to ‘do more.’ During that conversation Viti brought up the idea of walking across the United States.
Viti and Faldowski talked about the idea, and then met up in Seattle for four days to turn the plan into a reality. Together, the two formed Mike’s Hiking For Heroes. Faldowski, who served on the Board of Freedom Has A Face, a non-profit organization devoted to honoring the lives and legacies of this nation’s heroes killed in action and rallying support on behalf of families of veterans killed in action, helped team Freedom Has A Face up with Mike’s Hiking For Heroes as a special project.
MikesHikingFaldowski, who is walking along Viti for parts of the journey, says, “Mike is doing ALL of the walking. He needs help, so that all he needs to worry about is just putting one foot in front of the other.” On April 26th, Viti began his journey in DuPont, WA. Proceeding down the West Coast through Oregon and California, Viti will continue towards San Diego, CA then turn eastward across the southern United States, trekking though Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama until he reaches Savannah, GA. He will finish by going up the East Coast through South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington, DC. The walk will commence on December 13th in Baltimore, MD at the Army/Navy Game.
When all is said and done, Viti will have hiked over 7,100 kilometers around the United States, one kilometer for each service member our nation has lost in the GWOT. The journey will take over 230 days as Viti travels about 36 kilometers or 22 miles a day. Viti explained, “The goal of this project is to honor the legacy of our nation’s heroes and rally support for their families who will forever be impacted by their sacrifice.” Faldowski added, “In addition to the walk, our plan is to raise money to erect permanent memorials in the hometowns of veterans killed in action during the GWOT, to honor both the individual legacies of those heroes killed in action and their families.”
Viti and Faldowski hope to draw attention from the American public and heighten awareness to the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. Viti expressed his gratitude to the audience through a video, which was recorded from California earlier in the day. In addition, Faldowski talked about Mikes Hiking for Heroes. Faldowski said there were three things people could do to raise awareness and help the organization: “Tell someone else, walk a kilometer with them and/or make a donation.” Pennsylvania 46th District Senator Tim Solobay’s office presented Viti and Faldowski with citations for their efforts and community service. Faldowski accepted on behalf of Viti at the event.
In addition to the line-up of speakers, attendees were treated to a delicious feast, catered by The Upper Crust in Washington, PA. Rich Bubin of Ice Creations created an American eagle ice sculpture for the event, which was sponsored by J Bird’s Landscaping. “O” Ring CNG Fuel Systems brought along a special treat for display, a compressed natural gas (CNG) Harley Davidson motorcycle.
A few of the organizations and businesses represented at the event included: Beemac Trucking, Cal U, DMC Design, 84 Energy Supply, EQT, FYDA Energy Solutions, The Law Offices of Cara C. Davis, Mustang Oilfield Services, ProGas and Vulcan Oilfield Services. Smart Solution Technologies, a full audio visual systems integration company that bridges the conference room gap with collaboration solutions, which include video conferencing, digital signage and interactive solutions, had their SMART Board technology on display. Megan Eden, Customer Service/Business Development, Smart Solution Technologies, relayed, “The SMART Board technology is a great tool for a company to share information or collaborate together. Smart Solution Technologies offers full turnkey solutions and provides continued service support and training.”
All proceeds from the E³ event, including admission cost, went to Mike’s Hiking for Heroes. A special auction was held at the event to raise money. Those auction items included a ManiPedi donated by Studio Seven; a Toffee House Gift Certificate donated by The Toffee House; a Harley-Davidson assorted basket donated by Valley Harley-Davidson of Wheeling, West Virginia; horseback riding lessons donated by Melinda Bombash of B and B Farms; a round of golf at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort donated by 84 Energy Supply; Zip Line tickets to Grand Vue Park donated by Craig and Carrie White and Steelers tickets donated by Phillips and Faldowski, PC. The event raised just over $2,500 for Mike’s Hiking for Heroes.
For a video highlight of the event, click on https://vimeo.com/99651373. For more on Mikes Hiking For Heroes or to see Mike on his journey, check out MikesHikingForHeroes.com or follow Mike on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MikesHikingForHeroes. The next Elite Energy Event will be in Bentleyville in front of the Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Garden Inn properties on July 24th from 5PM to 8PM.
Shale Media Group (SMG) is a news, information, education and mapping resource dedicated to the shale oil and gas industries by messaging across video, Internet, publications, events and radio. For more, check out ShaleMediaGroup.com to access all platforms, including: TheMarcellusShale.com, TheUticaShale.com, TheShaleAcademy.com and ShaleEnergyNow.com. Kristie Kubovic is the Director of Communications at Shale Media Group. Contact her at Kristie@ShaleMediaGroup.com.