Author James Bradley told the 500 people gathered at the New Albany Community Foundation's "A Remarkable Evening" on Nov. 17 that he was "proud to be here with this audience of everyday heroes," which included several veterans and community members who have given back over the years.

Author James Bradley told the 500 people gathered at the New Albany Community Foundation's "A Remarkable Evening" on Nov. 17 that he was "proud to be here with this audience of everyday heroes," which included several veterans and community members who have given back over the years.

Bradley knows a little bit about heroes, having interviewed several servicemen and their families for the three books he has authored: "Flags of Our Fathers," "Flyboys: A True Story of Courage," and "The Imperial Cruise." He even lived with a hero - his father, Navy corpsman John Bradley. John Bradley helped five Marines raise the American flag on Iwo Jima in February of 1945, an iconic scene captured in a famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal.

Bradley told the audience his father never talked about his military service. It wasn't until John Bradley died and his son found a box of memorabilia that he became interested in his father's military service. In that box was a letter John Bradley had written home to his parents in Appleton, Wis., telling them raising the flag was the happiest moment of his life.

Bradley said he became interested in why his father never talked about the "happiest moment of his life" to his children and he began his quest to learn about the six men who raised the flag.

After spending thousands of hours interviewing families of the servicemen in person and on the phone, Bradley said, he determined that his father may never have talked about the invasion of Iwo Jima because of the massive casualties suffered by Allied forces. Almost 7,000 were killed out of more than 25,000 casualties.

After telling some more stories about the heroes of Iwo Jima, Bradley recognized the World War II veterans present in the audience and commended them for their heroic efforts. The veterans included:

Don Jakeway, 87, of Johnstown, who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, and is a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and Normandy. He earned two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and 21 medals total.

Herman Zerger, 86, of Woodsfield, who served in the 141st Infantry Division in Italy and France, and is a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. He earned the Purple Heart and bronze star and was a prisoner of war.

Glyde Marsh, 92, of New Albany, who serves on New Albany Village Council. He was a major in the 787th Military Police Battalion and was in Paris three days after France had been liberated.

Samuel F. Wendt, 84, of Columbus, who served as a Seabee in the Pacific theater and was on Guam and Okinawa. He witnessed kamikaze attacks and would have been in the invasion of Japan if it had not surrendered after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Richard "Dick" Krauss, 88, of Columbus, a P-51 Mustang pilot who served with the 339th Fighter Group and 8th Air Force. His plane was named "Sweet Eloise" after his late wife.

Robert "Bob" Coyne, 84, of Newark, who served in the 4th Armored Calvary. He was trained to be a gunner and helped liberate Nordhausen Concentration Camp. He appears in a photo featured in the book that goes with the Ken Burns documentary "The War."

Bradley then recognized two generations of the Ryan family - longtime New Albany residents David and Ellen and their son, Mark, and his wife, Sarah - who were awarded the 2010 Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service award.

David Ryan chaired the New Albany Community Foundation's board of trustees for three years and established the Ellen and David Ryan Fund at the foundation, which has supported the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, restoration of the Phelps House (which houses the McCoy center offices) and artist-in-residency grants for the New Albany K-1 building.

David and Ellen Ryan also have supported causes outside of New Albany, with gifts to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State, the Columbus Museum of Art and Nationwide Children's Hospital. David Ryan chairs the James Foundation Board and in 2007 was awarded the Outstanding Philanthropist Award during the National Philanthropy Day awards in Columbus. Ellen Ryan serves on the Columbus Museum of Art board and the Mercyhurst College board.

Mark and Sarah Ryan are focused on education, with Mark serving as president of the New Albany-Plain Local school board. He is an original member of the McCoy center board of directors.

Sarah Ryan served as president of the New Albany Women's Network and has chaired its annual fundraiser - which supports causes for women and children- three times. She also serves on the women's board of the Franklin Park Conservatory.

The couple also have established the Ryan Family Fund through the New Albany Community Foundation. The fund supports the McCoy center's lecture series.

Bradley also recognized Leslie and Abigail Wexner, who underwrite the community foundation fundraiser and host the dinner at the party barn on their estate.

Bradley called the Ryans and Wexners "everyday heroes" who perhaps wouldn't consider themselves to be so in comparison to his father.

All proceeds raised from ticket sales - this year's fundraiser netted $500,000 - are used by the New Albany Community Foundation to support community programming.

Last year, the foundation raised $400,000 and contributed money to several projects and organizations, many of which benefitted students in the community, said executive director Craig Mohre. These included:

The New Albany library branch's new Homework Help Center.

The New Albany High School Athletic Boosters' drive to install synthetic turf on the football field.

The high school lacrosse team.

Programming at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

The New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society's restoration of the Ealy House on Dublin-Granville Road and the Phelps House on U.S. Route 62, which serves as an office for the McCoy center.