20th Annual Military Appreciation Awards

Thu., Feb. 15, 2018

6 - 8:30pm

Raymond James Stadium

Featured Speaker

Corporal Michael L. Jernigan, USMC (Ret.)

Corporal Michael L. Jernigan, USMC (Ret.) proudly served with Company E 2nd Battalion 2nd Marine regiment. On August 22, 2004, while on a deployment in Iraq, Michael's platoon was on patrol when it was hit by two 155mm artillery shells buried under the ground. Michael suffered life-changing injuries including a crushed cranium, shattered left knee, severed fingers, fractured patella, cut femoral artery and the loss of both eyes. He underwent 30 major surgeries in the first 12 months following the attack and spent 16 months in hospitals and rehab facilities. Michael is the first US service member to lose both eyes in the Global War on Terror.

Through everything, Jernigan did not lose his sense of self. He dedicated himself to not only recovering from his wounds, but helping others develop strength and success in the face of adversity. In 2006, Michael co-founded Paws for Patriots at Southeastern Guide Dogs: a program that provides guide dogs and service animals to veterans. He has touched thousands of lives through his motivational speaking, peer-to-peer counseling and most recently his book, entitled Vision. He has turned the most traumatic experience of his life into a life filled with new purpose. Michael’s favorite saying is, “It wasn’t until I lost my sight, that I gained my vision.”

Presenting Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

CAE USA Defense & Security
Calhoun International
Reeves Import Motorcars, Inc.
Tampa General Hospital
Tampa Steel Erecting Co.
United Way Suncoast
University of South Florida
VetCor LLC

Media Sponsor

For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Staci Fraser at sfraser@tampachamber.com.


Individual Admission
For registered attendees, the GTCC has a five-business-day cancellation policy, unless otherwise noted. Registered attendees may receive a full refund if a written cancellation notice is provided to the GTCC at least 5 business days prior to event. No refunds are allowed within 5 business days of the event. Substitutions for attendees are welcome with written notice at least 48 hours in advance of event.* No refunds will be issued after the event. No refunds will be issued for no-shows, travel delays, missed sessions or cancellations after the start of the event. 

Corporate Tables
No refunds will be issued after registration is submitted. Substitutions for corporate table attendees are welcome with written notice at least 48 hours in advance of event.*

*Substitutions for attendees not available for events that require security clearances.