Swords to Plowshares Hosts 25th Annual Veterans Day Celebration and Profiles of Courage Awards

Swords to Plowshares, San Francisco’s leading nonprofit veteran service agency, will host its 25th annual Veterans Day celebration in person on Wednesday, November 10 and virtually on Thursday, November 11, 2021.

San Francisco, Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed and 150 supporters will join the in-person event on the eve of Veterans Day at the Edwin M Lee Apartments, Swords to Plowshares’ latest permanent supportive housing facility in Mission Bay. Guests will pay tribute to the agency’s tireless efforts to end veteran homelessness and honor the veterans it serves. With Wells Fargo as the title sponsor of the event, Swords to Plowshares will recognize the dedicated commitment of its long-standing pro bono partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, and honor United States Navy veteran, Stephan Steffanides, with the Profiles of Courage award. The in-person event will also feature a mini-concert from “the President’s Own” violinist, Master Gunnery Sgt. Peter Wilson, USMC, Ret., and pianist and California National Guard veteran, MGySgt. Paul Schrage. During the virtual event on Veterans Day, the Honorable Speaker Nancy Pelosi will address viewers in recognition and celebration of the many Bay Area veterans.  

Swords to Plowshares 25th Annual Veterans Day Celebration: In-Person 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021; 5:00 PM- 7:30 PM  

Edwin M Lee Apartments, 1150 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94158 

Swords to Plowshares 25th Annual Veterans Day Celebration: Virtual 

Thursday, November 11, 2021; 5:30 PM- 6:10 PM  


“Most people know our work in providing homes to homeless veterans in the Bay Area, but we also provide critical legal services to veterans seeking VA disability compensation benefits, access to VA healthcare, and military discharge upgrades,” said Swords to Plowshares’ Executive Director, Michael Blecker. “We work hard to dispel the myths that veterans receive benefits automatically, and that all veterans can go to the VA for healthcare. Many veterans have to fight for these benefits. This year, we are proud to recognize a pro bono partner who stands by us to help us meet the needs of hundreds of veterans. We are also honored to share the story of a veteran who has shown courage in the face of adversity as an LGBTQ sailor when being gay or trans-identified in the service resulted in severe abuse and harassment.” 

Pro Bono Partner of the Year 2021 

Since 2016, approximately fifty lawyers from Seyfarth Shaw LLP have been involved with Swords to Plowshares’ Veterans Pro Bono Program by taking on individual veterans’ cases, providing records review, creating self-help guides, and serving on the pro bono advisory board. Shireen Y. Wetmore, an Associate at the San Francisco office of Seyfarth, will accept the award on behalf of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Mo Seidor, the Legal Director at Swords to Plowshares, will present the award.  

Profiles of Courage Honoree 

Stephan Steffanides joined the Navy at 18, serving from 1989 to 1993. Stephan comes from a long line of sailors – they have a family member who has served in every major U.S. conflict since the Spanish-American War. While in the Navy, Stephan experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation and was ultimately discharged with an “other than honorable” discharge. The mistreatment and trauma Stephan experienced while in service pushed them into substance abuse and homelessness for many years. Stephan connected with Swords to Plowshares in 2018 and, with support from Swords’ services, found a place to live, accessed healthcare and counseling, and got their discharge status upgraded. Now sober and thriving, Stephan has found themself giving back to their veteran community in the Bay Area. They are involved with the American Legion post 448 – the only LGBTQ+ post in the country – where they are spearheading an archival project to preserve the histories of LGBTQ+ veterans. 

“At Swords to Plowshares, we aim to restore dignity and hope to ALL veterans. We want to see veterans feel empowered to lead meaningful and productive lives through the services we provide. Our Veterans Day celebration allows us to raise the crucial funds needed to serve San Francisco’s veteran population. Without support from the community, our work would not be possible,” said Mr. Blecker.  

Premier sponsors of the 25th Annual Veterans Day Event include:  

Wells Fargo, Keker Family Foundation, Cahill Contractors Inc., Cooley LLP, Facebook, Gibson Dunn, Golden State Warriors, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, LinkedIn, Morrison & Foerster LLP, Salesforce Inc., and Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  

About Swords to Plowshares:  

Founded in 1974, Swords to Plowshares is a community-based not-for-profit organization that provides wraparound services to 3,000 low-income, unhoused and at-risk veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. Swords to Plowshares promotes and protects the rights of veterans through advocacy, public education, and partnerships with local, state and national entities. Learn more about the work of Swords to Plowshares, and ways in which you can help, by visiting our website at https://www.swords-to-plowshares.org/.   


Veterans Day celebration 2021 The Edwin M Lee Apartments in Mission Bay

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