Food Network star honors veterans with dessert feast
© Sumner Park

Food Network celebrity chef Robert Irvine joined Hire Heroes USA and Walmart on Capitol Hill Tuesday to pay tribute to the nation's veterans and raise funds for a worthy cause with a dessert reception.

Attendees at the event in the Hart Senate Office building were greeted by an impressive lineup of pastry samples, cheesecake, and ice cream from Irvine, who is known for his top-rated show, "Restaurant: Impossible."

The Walmart Foundation announced a $1 million grant to Hire Heroes USA, an organization that works to support veterans. The donation will help over 2,000 transitioning service members, military spouses, and military veterans succeed in the civilian workforce.

The reception brought out veterans and their supporters to celebrate the efforts of both organizations. Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: EPA aims to work more closely with industry Overnight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-W.Va.) and Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonAmeriCorps hurricane heroes deserve a reward — don’t tax it Price’s job seen at risk after Trump slams private jet use Senate passes bipartisan Medicare reform bill MORE (R-Ga.) also were at the reception.

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"We are so grateful for all of the support that the Walmart Foundation has given us to help move these military service members forward in their lives," Brian Stann, the president and chief executive officer of Hire Heroes USA, told The Hill. "Our partnership has pushed us to help find these military heroes not just jobs but quality careers and meaningful opportunities to lead again in their communities."

Irvine also made a special appearance and provided the assortment of desserts in honor of the veterans.

The esteemed chef has paved ties with military support organizations since the beginning of his career when he served as chef for the British Royal Navy.

Irvine has cooked for wounded warriors and their families and launched the Robert Irvine Foundation to pursue his commitment to giving back to military personnel, first responders, and their families.

After Irvine spoke about his support for veterans groups and their efforts, he asked the veterans in attendance to join him in a blindfolded ice-cream-sundae-building team challenge.

In recent years, Walmart has partnered with military support groups to collectively donate $40 million to help veterans.

Stann, also a Marine Corps combat veteran, said that the contributions will have an immediate impact. Hire Heroes USA has seen a 20 percent increase in veterans seeking its services.

The non-profit has helped 17,000 veterans find jobs to date and hopes to expand that work.

"We are fighting everyday to make sure that people view this generation of military properly," Stann said. "It is important that people view military veterans as assets and that they are looked upon with pride." 

This story was updated on June 28 at 7:37 a.m.