Northwell rocks for vets, active military

Gavin DeGraw performs at Side By Side copy

BY NORTHWELL HEALTH | On May 25, thousands of veterans, active military members and their families gathered at Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall for Side By Side: A Celebration of Service, created by Northwell Health.

The two-part event honoring service members was the “official pinnacle event” of New York City Fleet Week.

Bands Imagine Dragons and Boyz II Men and singer Gavin DeGraw and others performed as part of the inspirational day honoring service members.

Michael Dowling, president and C.E.O. of Northwell Health, addresses the crowd at Rockefeller Center at Side by Side: A Celebration of Service. (Courtesy Northwell Health)

“Northwell was honored to stand with those who have given so much of themselves to this great nation, which was especially fitting over Memorial Day weekend,” said Michael Dowling, president and C.E.O. of Northwell Health, who more than a decade ago created Northwell’s Office of Military and Veterans Liaison Services.

“It is our privilege and responsibility to continue our ongoing support to veterans and their families, including both medical care and behavioral health treatment for those struggling with PTSD. As a proud employer of thousands of veterans, we also remain committed to recruiting and assisting newly returned veterans trying to find a job and acclimate back into civilian life.”

Boyz II Men crooned smooth tunes at Side by Side. (Courtesy Northwell Health)

The first half of the celebration at Rockefeller Center, which was free and open to the public, featured performances by Boyz II Men, Gavin DeGraw, Alex Boyé, Rock Star Karaoke, The U.S. Navy Band, and cast members from “Jersey Boys” and “Wicked.”

Attendees also interacted with actual U.S. Navy equipment, and got to see a special presentation of Northwell Health’s “The Fin” — the first 3D-printed amphibious prosthetic leg, which was named one of TIME magazine’s Best Inventions of 2018.

Singer Gavin DeGraw was part of the star-studded lineup of performers for Side by Side. (Courtesy Northwell Health)

A highlight of the daytime portion was hearing Navy veteran Dusty Kirby tell his extraordinary story and the moving onstage reunion with those who served with him in Iraq, as well as with surgeons from Northwell’s Lenox Hill Hospital who literally gave him his smile back by reconstructing his jaw, which was shattered by gunfire more than a decade ago. Northwell awarded its Patriot Awards to Kirby and Dr. David Hirsch, Lenox Hill’s chief of oral and maxillofacial surgery, who performed two pro bono surgeries to reposition Kirby’s jaw so it aligned with his teeth.

Later that evening, Northwell Health provided free tickets to hundreds of service members and their families for a special performance by Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum band Imagine Dragons.