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AZ Insider: What Brought These Celebs to Dine in Phoenix

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Kathy Shayna Shocket has the inside story on celebrities and people making a difference.joe gary 

Kathy reports on the exciting array of notables on the guest list at a Phoenix dinner. 

 Not only did well known actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna fly into Phoenix for a patriotic fundraising dinner, but Richard Dreyfuss was the keynote speaker. About 700 people turned out for the 2013 Joe Foss Institute (JFI) Stars in Service. 

The renown actor who is sporting a distinguished bearded look these days and has starred in many classic films including Mr. Holland's Opus, is challenging his inner Mr. Holland with a civics twist!  

richard foss

( Dr. Lucian Spataro, Jr., Richard Dreyfuss and Chair of JFI Board of Directors, Sandy Froman )

Richard founded the Dreyfuss Initiative, a nationwide effort to bring back civics to American youth. At the Phoenix dinner he inspired a call to action on why civics must play a more central role in the American classroom. “The United States needs a lesson in civics,” he says. “We must teach our kids how to run our country, before they are called upon to run our country. If we don’t, someone else will run the country.” 

Among the powerful philanthropists and community leaders on the VIP guest list were Foster Friess who also spoke, and Mike Ingram who was presented with the 2013 JFI Lifetime Achievement Award.  Joe Mantegna received the 2013 Patriotism Award; LTG William Boykin (ret.), received the 2013 Military Service Award; and Allen West, received the 2013 Public Service Award. 

freiss gary

(Foster and Lynn Friess and Gary Sinise)

Actor Gary Sinise proudly presented Joe Mantegna with the coveted patriotism award. " "Joe's strong support for our military service men and women, his commitment to public service and his dedication to the ideals that have made this country great are all examples of what I think of when I think of the definition of a true patriot."

ingram joejpg

(Michael and Sheila Ingram and Joe Mantegna)

Joe points out it's important that we recognize the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform who protect our freedoms.”It is even more critical that our young people understand their country’s history if they are to be active and engaged citizens. I appreciate all that the Joe Foss Institute is doing to help meet this need all across the country.”

The Joe Foss Institute President and CEO, Dr. Lucian Spataro, Jr., adds that the Stars in Service event is designed to highlight JIF’s programs and work to educate our nation’s youth about the importance of patriotism, public service, integrity and America’s unique freedoms and history.

 kathy-shayna-shocket  Kathy Shayna Shocket is a freelance Writer, Photographer,  and TV-Field Producer  based in Phoenix. She is a former TV reporter and her stories have been published in TIME magazine, PEOPLE magazine, MONEY magazine, the Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times. You can reach her at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it