Following an AEF Memorial Day tradition that has been going on for several years, Al Cecere and AEF crew off to New York City and Chicago with the American Eagle Foundation’s Bald Eagle Challenger for two major events.
Challenger the Bald Eagle
For 20 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised many millions of dollars for charities, including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. Countless lives have been changed because of the generosity of those who support this event.
On April 4th, American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere and staff members Laura Sterbens, Julia Cecere, Robert West, and Bald Eagle Challenger participated in the opening ceremonies of an award dinner honoring 106 scholarship recipients at the 2014 National Scholars Conference and Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington D.C.
During the summer of 2013, a film crew from Nat Geo Wild’s “We Move Animals” visited the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, TN.
We now have another stunning video to share with you! See the eagle Challenger soar at major events over the past five years, accompanied by a beautiful a cappella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.
The Bald Eagle Challenger’s last flight of the 2013 NFL season took place on Jan. 4, 2014 at the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium during their NFL Wildcard Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With artic temperatures and snow outside, Challenger and the AEF crew were grateful to be indoors at Lucas Field.
While in New York City on November 12, 2013, the Bald Eagle Challenger and Al Cecere filmed a ChannelOne News segment titled “Pop Quiz: The Bald Eagle.” This episode was broadcast to 7,000 schools nationwide on December 17, 2013.
On December 9th, Al appeared on Fox News to discuss the ramifications of this extension, stating: “I think this is appalling and outrageous. I don’t think this is good conservation policy. I think this is a lot of politics, and, believe me, I educate people on both sides of the aisle. I’ve been saving eagles for nearly 30 years. It took over 30 years to bring the Bald Eagle back from the brink of extinction.
On November 17, 2013, the Houston Texans hosted the Oakland Raiders at their Military Appreciation Game inside Reliant Stadium. Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush were among those guests who saw the Bald Eagle Challenger fly during the Gatlin Brothers’ rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Immediately following a November visit to New York City, the AEF crew and the Bald Eagle Challenger headed down to Nashville, TN to conduct an educational program in an elementary school and to participate in a National Anthem ceremony at a Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts football game on November 14, 2013.
On Veterans Day, November 11, 2013, Al Cecere and the Bald Eagle Challenger appeared on the popular Fox & Friends TV morning show in New York City. Al talked about the importance of acknowledging and remembering the sacrifices of our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen, both active duty and veterans.
On October 30, 2013, the Bald Eagle Challenger, Al Cecere, and AEF Staff traveled to Atlanta, GA to attend and participate in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Regional Conservation Awards ceremony.
Who would have believed an eaglet blown from his wild nest during a storm and involved in several life threatening situations would turn his near tragedies into so many triumphs? Challenger faced personal battles and bounced back to overcome his hardships. He did not give up and neither did the people who have supported him with their care and love.
On September 15, 2013, the AEF team (Al Cecere, Laura Sterbens, Julia Cecere, Rob West, and Christian Knatt) were in Philadelphia, PA to attend the Philadelphia Eagles Season Opener against the San Diego Chargers. Challenger awed the crowd as he soared over a field-sized flag for over a minute, held proudly by our servicemen and servicewomen during the presentation of the Star Spangled Banner.
September 14, 2013, Al Cecere and Bald Eagle Challenger appeared on Fox & Friends in New York. In this interview, Al talks about the dangers from wind turbines to wildlife.
The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Contributions to the American Eagle Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
The AEF's tax identification number is 58-1652023.
Background photo ©Byron Jorjorian