The USS Kidd Veterans Museum debuted its new fundraiser, Roarin’ on the River, on May 30, and everyone was digging the jive of the 1940s-themed gala.

Richard Manship was honored as Patriot of the Year, and the program even included the tap-dancing Chorus Girl Project. Watch them dance at

John Spain, a longtime friend of Manship, served as master of ceremonies. He introduced a touching video highlighting Manship’s service in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and the leadership role he played in bringing the USS Kidd to Baton Rouge.

“Peace has a cost to it, and the Kidd reminds us of that everyday,” Spain said before turning the program over to Hans Sternberg, vice chairman of the Louisiana War Memorial Commission, for the award presentation. Veneeth Iyengar with Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s office presented Manship with a proclamation.

“They were the four best years of my life,” Manship said, adding his thanks to his fellow veterans who had “bullets flying around their heads while I was floating in the water.”

He recalled meeting up with his brother, David, who was serving in the Army, during a leave in Germany. “As kids, we used to talk about building a raft to float down the Mississippi,” Manship said.  “We spent the weekend camping … and I’ll leave it as that.”

He added how special it was to be sharing the evening with his brother as well as his wife, Claire, son Hunter and wife Brandi, and his grandchildren, Ella and Hunter.

The evening was chaired by Heather Kleinpeter. The host committee included Katie Baron, Nicole Blanco, Franz Borghardt, Patricia Calfee, Carolyn Castle, Aron Coates, Lauren Crump, Paula Davis, Heather and Jason Day, Miriam and Randy Del Rio, Marty and John Engquist, Kelly and Emelle Guirard, Lauren and Andy Hatcher, Robert Hawthorne, Angelle Hill, Clint Hurst, Garic Jenkins, Jack Keifer, Jody Montelaro, Henson Moore, Nial Patel, Kyle Peterson, Stephanie Possa, Erin Pou, Leigh Rivault, Dave Roberts, Reagan Roberts, Kade Savoy, Greg Tramontin, Becky Walker and Matt Watson.

Follow Pam Bordelon on Twitter, @pamspartyline.