Home > My Everyday Life > what IAVA has done for me

what IAVA has done for me


In a previous post I had mentioned that the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) had helped me in many ways, but aside from helping me understand the very confusing and often head-scratching Post 9/11 Gi Bill, they have afforded me some really amazing opportunities. Check this out.

In Oct 2008, MTV hosted an event at the Nokia Theater called “A Night for Vets” where IAVA and MTV pushed a petition for the Bill of Rights for American Veterans (BRAVE). I took Nick to the concert where Ludacris, 50 Cent, G-Unit, Kanye West, Hinder, Saving Abel, Eve, and many others played. We had a great time jamming to the performers and talking to other vets that came out to support. It was an interesting way to raise awareness for a Bill of Rights specifically for those who had served and I was glad to be a part of it.

The next event I was lucky enough to attend was a pre-screening of the HBO movie called “Taking Chance” starring Kevin Bacon. This time I invited Jax along with me because I knew this was going to be something I could not handle alone. IMDb doesnt give this movie a strong enough summary so here is my stab at it. “Taking Chance” is based on the 2004 travel log of Lt. Col. Mike Strobl, who after his recommendation for action in the Iraq war is rejected, volunteers for escort duty of 19 year old fallen Marine Pfc. Chance Phelps. The story follows Phelp’s travels home from the battlefield to Germany and into Dover AFB where technicians work to bestow all honors due to Chance. His uniform is put to the exacting standards of the Corp and he is then turned over to LtCol Strobl who is charged with his safe transport to his final resting place in Wyoming. The film follows Strobl as he recounts every instance of his escorting Chance from the hearse ride to Philadelphia, the flight to Minneapolis, and finally by car to Phelp’s home in Wyoming all while describing the immense appreciation and gratitude the soldier is given as he comes home for the last time.

Jax and I were invited to the HBO Studios in NYC where other vets, IAVA heads, and the executive producers of the film filled the theater seats. The movie was absolutely incredible and I thank God that I brought her along because I was a mess. The theater was filled with sobbing men and women and I was thankful that this remarkable story was done justice without a politcal agenda. Thanks Jax for coming, I couldnt have dealt with that without you. Another reason you are my favorite.

Fast forward to June 2010 when there was an open casting for a photo shoot involving a line of Joseph Abboud apparel that will be appearing in JC Penney. Abboud and JC Penney wanted to showcase vets in the shoot and I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the six veteran models. An amazing experience I never really thought I would ever be considered, especially as this hairline keeps creeping towards my back. Thanks genetics for ruining my budding new career! Check out in 6 hrs 20 minutes, joseph abboud shoot day 1, joseph abboud shot day 2 if you want to see my recount.

And just yesterday, I was asked to join a group going to ESPN studios to represent IAVA and to meet with Dana White of the UFC. This was another incredible day that I would not have been afforded if not for the fine folks at IAVA. I have too much to tell about the day to include it here so read on with the following post as I talk about the shatty start to my Tuesday the 24th of August the year of our Lord 2010 and how the afternoon was a complete 180.

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  1. September 2, 2010 at 10:34

    Aw. thanks for inviting me. That was one of the most poignant days I’ve ever experienced. So heartbreaking, yet full of pride and dignity. And humbling. I still get emotional thinking about it.

    • September 2, 2010 at 10:52

      I wouldnt have made it without you kid. Thanks a billion.

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