A U.S. Army Ranger who was among those whose story was told in the book and movie Black Hawk Down will be the keynote speaker at the Tri-Citian of the Year banquet Saturday.
Sgt. Keni Thomas, a Bronze Star recipient, will speak about true community service.
Thomas was among the 3rd Ranger Division deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 to capture criminal warlord Mohamed Farrah Aideed. On Oct. 3 of that year, Thomas and others with Task Force Ranger participated in an 18-hour firefight. Nineteen Americans were killed and 78 were wounded.
Thomas' presentation is sponsored by Walkley Farms of Burbank. Barbara Johnson, a volunteer with the Tri-Citian of the Year committee, said owner Nanette Walkley heard Thomas speak at a conference and decided that the Tri-Cities would benefit from hearing what he has to say.
Thomas, a Southern country-rocker, is a regular guest on major news networks as a military analyst and was a military adviser for the movie We Were Soldiers. He was given the American Patriot Award and is a national spokesman for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, helping provide college education for children of special operation personnel who are killed in combat or training.
Tickets are still available for the banquet, which begins at 6 p.m. at Kennewick's Three Rivers Convention Center and includes a dinner at 7 p.m.
Contact Johnson at 783-2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org no later than noon Thursday to RSVP. Tickets cost $60 per person.