The stars turned out for Wingman Magazine’s Veteran’s Day celebration; “Stars + Stripes: On Screen Heroes Pay Tribute To Real Heroes,” an event thrown for Wishes For Warriors charity.
Wishes For Warriors is a veteran run, volunteer operated non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to returning hope and passion back into the lives of our combat wounded heroes, through therapeutic outdoor adventures, after experiencing a life altering injury. It is their mission to show these heroes that whether wounded of body and mind, they are still able to live out their passions; whether it is through the love of hunting, fishing, skydiving or anything that makes them feel alive again!
And for a night, Wingman Magazine helped assist adding passion into these soldier’s lives by giving them not only the opportunity to mingle and hang out with their favorite stars, but to be treated and celebrated like one- walking a red carpet and getting the same admiration that our celebrities get- which they so deserve!
Reps from Wingman Magazine say that the idea behind the event came from watching the public respond so vehemently to celebrities coming down off the pedestal and going into the smaller cities to praise our real heroes and give thanks. The magazine has been advertising for the charity for over a year and working with Brittney Townley, the Vice President and Chief of Operations of Wishes For Warriors, who was thrilled to have her soldiers be treated like stars. Together, Wingman Magazine and Wishes For Warriors have said;
“Reaching out for charity is always a tremendous struggle and heartbreaking- but it doesn’t even tap into a fraction of that same struggle that some homeless Veterans on the street go through as they ask for charity, and it means the world to be able to help them in any way and give them and their struggles visibility.”
Held on November 10th at Harrison’s Comics in Salem, Massachusetts, and sponsored by The Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, The Adriatic Restaurant and Bar, The Amelia Payson House, and Daniel Hernandez Couturier, the event brought in brave veterans Dominic Davila (US Air force,) Mike Krampitz (US Army,) Shelby Hatch (US Marine Corps), and Luke Martin (US Army), as well as talented and benevolent stars such as Anne Heche (“The Brave,”) IronE Singleton (“The Walking Dead,”), Todd Lowe (“True Blood,”) and Shawn Vance (Real veteran and writer and actor from “Green Beret’s Guide To Surviving The Apocalypse.”)
Very compassionate for the cause, NBC’s “The Brave” star ANNE HECHE came from one Veteran’s Day appearance that morning- literally hopping off the plane from NYC to be there, only to get right back on another in order to be in D.C. for her next Veteran’s Day event the next day. The exuberant actress stated that this wasn’t only a character, show, and role that she felt very passionate about, but also a cause that she respected and believed in.
Female soldier in attendance, Shelby Hatch, also shared deep stories from her own tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, giving young women everywhere a role model to strongly admire as she stated she never felt “less female” for being a marine, but instead, just focused on saving lives. Fashion designer Daniel Hernandez of Daniel Hernandez Couturier, who dressed and styled Hatch and the other soldiers in attendance as well as sponsoring the event, added;
“My sister was in the army and I never viewed her as someone who couldn’t look beautiful and dress up. Those stigmas don’t apply- she was still completely feminine and beautiful, the same as Shelby.”
with a strong lineage of veterans in his family, Hernandez was overjoyed to donate to the event, dress the soldiers, and do whatever he could to help the cause.
Also overjoyed to be there for the veterans, actor Todd Lowe, who played PTSD-inflicted veteran Terry Balfour on “True Blood,” couldn’t be more gracious as he thanked our soldiers for their service. From going on foot to the store to getting them what they might need himself, to praising them for their courage as he talked about researching his role- as well as his latest stint on USA’s “Shooter,” the extremely humble actor from Humble, Texas showed constant appreciation to the veterans- while continuously keeping the fans laughing with some good jokes!
A veteran himself, Shawn Vance, actor and writer for Matt Damon’s new producing project for Netflix “The Green Beret’s Guide To Surviving The Apocalypse” got to catch up with some other men in green and hear their stories of fighting for our country. Soldiers in attendance like Dominic Davila, who lost his leg while fighting for our country in the U.S. Air Force, and Mike Krampitz– who faced many back injuries of his own while serving in the U.S. Army, spoke from the heart as they talked to the audience about not only being at war, but the traumas of coming back- and U.S. Army veteran Luke Martin potently reminded everyone “Not all scars are external,” as the veterans launched into a conversation about PTSD and the importance of raising visibility for the illness.
The veterans continuously praised the event for putting them in the spotlight with Krampitz saying;
“It’s so rare that anyone ever gives us any attention- let alone puts us up in luxurious hotels and puts us on the cover of magazines, and this is especially rare outside the South, so, it’s really been amazing to come and be treated like a star.”
Davila and Martin echoed the statements of their fellow veteran, adding that what they value the most in the world is authenticity, and that while they usually try to steer clear of interacting with Hollywood and the entertainment industry due to the lack of sincerity that can sometimes come along with show business, they really respected the way this event was run and loved hearing the thanks they received from the stars, like actor IronE Singleton from “The Walking Dead,” who professed that the event gave him the opportunity to thank his grandfather for his service for United States.
Ecstatic to be there to support the troops, Singleton not only rushed over from Atlanta to attend the event, the actor took time that day to sign his new book, “Blindsided By The Walking Dead” and generously donated 20% of sales to Wishes For Warriors, staying and greeting every fan all the way till the end.
The soldiers from Wishes For Warriors had a blast being treated like stars and being seen for the heroes they are at the Wingman Magazine event, and the actors in attendance were happy to be there to give their thanks and let these brave men and women shine- and help the fans learn about a fantastic organization.
To learn more about Wishes For Warriors or to donate to this worthy cause, log on to; www.wishesforwarriorscorp.org