Don McCarthy was 20 years old on D-Day, when his infantry division landed on Omaha Beach. Don and the other veterans who survived D-Day will someday soon have passed into memory and legend.
This realization inspires 20-year-old filmmaker Charlotte Juergens to join Don and seven other D-Day vets on a journey to France – a commemorative pilgrimage to Omaha Beach for the 70th anniversary of the invasion.
The vets come to see Charlotte as a granddaughter, trusting her with their stories as they confront the trauma that still haunts them 70 years after the war.
In capturing their lives, Sunken Roads offers an intergenerational perspective on D-Day, presenting the memories of 90-year-old combat veterans through the eyes of a 20-year-old woman.
On National Medal of Honor Day coming March 25, we will honor the valor that the most courageous servicemen and servicewomen in the United States military have displayed. Awarded by the President of the United States, only military members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty will receive this distinction.
There are actually three different versions of the Medal of Honor, for the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, though Coast Guard members and Marines are also eligible to earn the Navy version.
It was in 1863, during the Civil War, that the first Medal of Honor was given. A Union raiding party had recently destroyed Confederate railways and important transportation in Tennessee and Georgia – these six men became the first recipients of the award. The only woman ever awarded the Medal of Honor was Mary Edwards Walker, who served during the Civil War as a surgeon in the Army.
To date, there have been 3,468 Medals of Honor awarded to those who fight to keep our country safe – and March 25, 2023 is the day to honor their exemplary service.
Past awardees include four Vietnam veterans that President Biden awarded for risking their lives to defend fellow service members in the jungles of South Vietnam. Read the article in U.S. Veterans Magazine‘s digital issue here.
To commemorate Vietnam Veterans, a special day is dedicated every March 29th to honor all the Vietnam veterans who fought during its time.
Photo: SPC 5 Dwight Birdwell receives the Medal of Honor from President Biden at the White House. Photo Credit: U.S. ARMY/SGT HENRY VILLARAMA
“On the streets of Hollywood, a recently retired NFL player is saved from scandal by a homeless veteran suffering from PTSD. With their ‘glory days’ behind them both, the two men bond in search of real purpose and identity. Inspired by actual events, MVP dramatizes the formation of Merging Vets & Players and features both military veterans and former professional athletes in front of and behind the camera” (@MVPtheMovie).
PHOTO: Christina Ochoa, Mo McRae, Margarita Reyes, MJ Acosta-Ruiz and Nate Boyer attend FilmRise’s MVP Red Carpet Premiere at AMC The Grove 14 in Los Angeles. The film, inspired by true events, is a raw portrayal of navigating the transition to life outside the uniform. Co-written by Nate Boyer, a Green Beret, former Seattle Seahawk and producer, MVP takes viewers on a journey into the intersecting lives of former NFL player Will Phillips portrayed by Mo McRae and Zephyr, portrayed by Boyer, and introduces viewers to the organization, Merging Vets & Players.
Merging Vets & Players
Boyer and Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer founded Merging Vets & Players in 2015. As a veteran and former NFL player, Boyer understands the unique experiences of veterans and professional athletes and how they can support each other. Glazer, a long-time television personality and sports reporter, has trained numerous athletes and co-owns The Unbreakable Performance Center in West Hollywood, California with former Chicago Bears’ linebacker, Brian Urlacher and U.S. Women’s Volleyball Captain, Lindsey Berg.
The organization shares that, “MVP empowers combat veterans and former professional athletes by connecting them after the uniform comes off; providing them with a new team to assist with transition, promote personal development, and show them they are never alone.” The nonprofit offers programs in eight cities plus virtually and boasts 2,000+ participants and over 9,965 program hours offered. There are many ways to get involved as a member, donor and partner. Find more information at vetsandplayers.org.
The 1st & Goal Project and Merging Vets & Players invited U.S. Veterans Magazine to a recent benefit screening of MVP (the movie) in Laguna Niguel, California. This fantastic film is not to be missed! Prior to the screening, attendees mingled, shared stories and enjoyed the photo opps. We are grateful for Dave DesRochers, Nate Boyer and everyone who organized the event, and the veterans, former NFL players and supporters who attended in support of this thought provoking and inspiring movie.
After the screening, several of the actors and the founder of 1st & Goal Project, DesRochers, spoke with the audience and explained their connection to the story and the nonprofit MVP. Viewers had an opportunity to ask questions and several veterans in attendance were moved to tears and shared how the film resonated with them.
The 1st & Goal Project
DesRochers, former offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, is deeply committed to philanthropy including veteran-related causes. He is the vice president of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) in Orange County, California and the founder of The 1st & Goal Project.
The 1st & Goal Project is hosting its inaugural Celebrity & Veteran Golf Invitational on Monday, March 20th at the beautiful Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club in Coto de Caza, California in support of veterans and veteran support groups: CarePossible, Veteran Legal Institute, Patriots & Paws, MVP and The 1st & Goal Project. Nestled in Orange County, the private, 36-hole country club is the perfect venue for the event. Join DesRochers and club sponsors, Pat and Kathy Aitro for a memorable day of golf, the chance to meet numerous celebrities and to impact the veteran-focused organizations benefitting from the event. To get involved, email email@example.com.
Photos courtesy of Olivia Sullivan @oliviasullivanphoto
Survivor 43 winner Mike Gabler made history on Wednesday night after he revealed he’d be donating his entire $1 million prize to veterans.
The heart valve specialist, 52, had been telling viewers of the CBS competition series his plan before nabbing the win, but followed through with his promise after being named Sole Survivor.
“There are people who need that money more,” Gabler told host Jeff Probst during the Survivor after show, filmed moments after his win. “And I’m going to donate the entire prize — the entire million dollar prize, in my father’s name, Robert Gabler, who was a Green Beret — to veterans in need who are recovering from psychiatric problems, PTSD, and curb the suicide epidemic.”
“We’re going to save lives and do something good,” the Kingwood, Tex. native continued amid cheers from jurors and castmates. “Season 43, all of us did this. A million dollars is going to them. We made history guys,” he added in the tender moment.
Ahead of his big reveal, Gabler could not praise the Survivor enough, sharing what an impact it had on him and the rest of the contestants. “We all have the chance of a lifetime out here, the adventure of a lifetime,” he said. “What we all learned from each other is priceless. It all made us better.”
The long-running reality competition show took place on the Fiji Islands again this season. Along with Gabler, the three-hour season finale consisted of top five competitors — Owen Knight, Jesse Lopez, Cassidy Clark and Karla Cruz Godoy — with Clark, Knight and Gabler making it to the final three.
After a 7-1-0 vote from jurors knocked out his final competitors, Gabler officially won. It was the first time his name had been written down all season.
Gabler, who is the second oldest winner in the show’s history, went on to say that he’s been “fortunate enough to come from a military family.”
When Probst respectfully asked what his financial situation was at home, considering his “beautiful gesture,” Gabler noted that he does not come from money.
“No I’ve worked very hard, I’ve been fortunate,” he said. “But you know, I realized being through this experience, I am rich at home. I have an amazing life at home. I have an amazing family. I have amazing friends. I need to be a better husband, I need to be a better father, I need to be a better brother, I need to be a better son. I’m going to do all those things just like all of us are going to do that when we go home.”
FOX Nation is hosting its fourth annual Patriot Awards at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Florida, tonight. You can catch the patriotic show live at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Nation, and it will also be offered in a repeat presentation on FOX News Channel on Sunday, November 27, at 10 p.m. ET.
Each year, the awards show honors standout Americans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in support of this great nation. The event gives true American heroes the recognition they deserve.
“It is the awards show that America needs and that America deserves,” said FOX & Friends Weekend co-host and Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Pete Hegseth, who will return for his fourth year as the emcee.
Hegseth will join FOX News Media personalities Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Jesse Watters, Greg Gutfeld, Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, Brian Kilmeade, Judge Jeanine Pirro, the cast of The Five, Harris Faulkner, Will Cain, Rachel Campos-Duffy, Dan Bongino, John Rich, Mike Rowe, Nancy Grace, Lawrence Jones, Johnny Joey Jones and Abby Hornacek.
This year’s Patriot Awards include the Most Valuable Patriot Award, Heroism Award, Service to Veterans Award and Back the Blue Award. Additionally, The Five (weekdays, 5 p.m. ET), Tucker Carlson Tonight (weekdays, 8 p.m. ET) and Gutfeld! (weekdays, 11 p.m. ET) will present live shows at the venue.
Last year’s Patriot Award recipients included “Most Valuable Patriot” Olympic Gold Medalist Tamyra Mensah-Stock; Award for Heroism recipient Lt. Col. (Ret.), Former Green Beret Scott Mann for his work in Afghanistan with Task Force Pineapple; “Modern Warrior” recipient Army Sergeant First Class John Goudie, and the “Courage” award recipient posthumously awarded to Todd Beamer in United Airlines Flight 93 (accepted by his parents David and Peggy Beamer).
They also paid a humbling tribute to the nation’s 13 fallen heroes killed on August 26, 2021, during the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan – Marine Corps Lance Corporal David L. Espinoza, Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole L. Gee, Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin T. Hoover, Army Staff Sergeant Ryan C. Knauss, Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee J. McCollum, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Kareem M. Nikoui, Marine Corps Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Marine Corps Corporal Humberto A. Sanchez, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared M. Schmitz, Navy Hospital Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak and Marine Corps Corporal Daegan W. Page.
Keep an eye out in the next issue of U.S. Veterans Magazine for a full feature on the event.
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Equity Honors awards are presented to corporate chief officers who have been recognized by their peers as the true leaders at the vanguard of economic equity and minority business integration.
Submit an application for your CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CMO, CDO, and CPO of the Year. All applications* must be started** by Dec. 20 to be considered.
*Qualified applications submitted for The Equity Honors in 2022 have been cloned for consideration for the 2023 Equity Honors. Simply log into the NMSDC Awards Portal and update your application, then submit. Previous winners of The Equity Honors are ineligible to apply again for a minimum of 3 years.
**We will reopen the applications in March of 2023 to collect 2022 comparative data that will complete the application. All applications that have been started by Dec. 20 will constitute The Equity Honors Nominees for 2023 with nominees highlighted on the Forum website and invited to the 2023 Minority Business Economic Forum.
The Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference is embedded as an annual entrepreneur ecosystem event for transitioning veterans, disabled veterans, National Guard, active and reserve component members and military spouses who are interested in growing the U.S. economy and its employment base while adding value to the communities in which they live and serve.
The October 5‑7 three-day hybrid experience hosted more than 200 attendees from 15 states at the Sheraton Arlington Hotel in Arlington, Texas. This year’s conference included an exclusive and in-depth two-day pre-conference financial statement workshop facilitated by Steve Lefever, founder of ProfitMastery, for 20 selected military-connected business owners. Kimberly Henry, who attended the pre-conference workshop, stated, “the content was challenging, but I have a better understanding of how I need to manage and present my business financials to lenders and pitch competition judges.”
More than 30 conference speakers shared information to increase awareness of entrepreneurial resources, facilitate access to SBA resource partners and access to capital partners, and deliver a memorable experience. Dynamic speakers included SBA Associate Administrator Larry Stubblefield; Andy Williams, former HGTV Flip or Flop Fort Worth star and founder of Rehab Warriors; a lineup of SBA resources partners, including leaders from the Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program and the Women’s Business Center. Existing veteran business owners shared their paths to success through panel discussions. “I attended BBBC19 and learned about franchise opportunities, and now I own two franchises,” said PK Kelley, who presented as part of the franchise panel.
In addition to the NFL Thursday Night Football watch party at TexasLive, the 2022 conference highlights included Melissa Washington presenting a check for $3,500 to Jaquelyn Garrick, who won the Women Veterans Giving Entrepreneur of the Year Award. BidExecs Franchising, LLC (BidExecs), the first and only franchise supporting government contractors to grow their business through robust business development, capture support and proposal solutions partnered with Business Beyond the Battlefield to identify highly qualified veterans to join their network. As such, Archie Smith was awarded a $30,000 BidExecs franchise. “Archie’s knowledge, experience and deep-rooted commitment to serving his local community businesses directly align with BidExecs’ servant leader values,” said Reena Bhatia, CEO of BidExecs, who sat down for a fireside chat at the conference.
“I love the conference. I was able to come in here and [receive] a variety of information about franchising, government contracting, how to get capital…,” said one attendee. Another attendee said, “If you’re just starting out and you want to know how to operate a business, this is the place to be…” Like the attendees, Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference founder Patrick E. Alcorn said, “It was a great experience, and I can’t wait until next October.”
Bombshells Restaurant & Bar: Offering free entrees for veterans at all 12 company-owned and franchised locations in Texas on Nov. 11. Other items will be discounted at 20%, and accompanying families will receive a 20% discount on entrees and other items. Note: This free meal doesn’t apply to active duty; but active duty will get a 20% discount. All other days of the year, active duty and other veterans can receive a 20% discount.. Check beforehand what identification can be used for the discount.
California Pizza Kitchen: Offering a free nonalcoholic beverage and choice of one entree from a special menu, to active duty and other veterans, on Nov. 11.
Krispy Kreme: Offering a free doughnut and a small brewed coffee to active duty and other veterans, on Nov. 11.
Little Caesars: Offering free lunch combo at participating locations while supplies last, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Nov. 11, to active duty and other veterans. Features four-slice deep dish pizza with pepperoni, and a 20-ounce Pepsi product. Military ID or DD214 required.
Starbucks: Free tall hot brewed or iced coffee. Also applies to military spouses
TGI Friday’s: Free lunch for dine-in on November 11th from 11am-2pm from a select menu.
Tuscan Brands Restaurants: Offering a free family style meal to veterans and their guest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 11, at their locations in Boston, Burlington and Newburyport, Massachusetts; and Salem and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. RSVP by calling the restaurant or online at tuscanbrands.com/veteransday. The restaurants include Tuscan Kitchen, Tuscan Sea Grill & Bar and Toscana Italian Chop House & Wine Bar.
Crunch Fitness: Free seven-day trial from November 7-13th and discounted membership rates. Also applies to first responders. Free trial also eligible to military families. Other
Goodyear Tire: Free inspections on tires, brakes, and batteries. 10% off tires and services. Appointments must be made between November 10th-14th and services can be redeemed through November 17th. Also applicable to first responders.
Great Clips: Free haircut or a free haircut card for a future visit. Non-military members who visit on November 11th will be given a free haircut card to give to a veteran or servicemember in their life. These cards must be redeemed before December 9th
Hertz: 20% off base rental rate when you book between November 7th-November 11th
Jefferson Lines: Free tickets for travel. Must be obtained by November 11th and redeemed by November 23rd.
Just Tires: Free inspections on tires, brakes, and batteries. 10% off tires and services. Appointments must be made between November 10th-14th and services can be redeemed through November 17th.
La Quinta: 12% off best available rate. 1000 bonus points will be given for stays booked by December 11th and completed by December 12th
Magnolia Wash Holdings: Free Car Wash at Magnolia Wash Holdings, Whistle Express, Camel Premium Express, and The Wave Carwash locations
Red Roof: 15% off bookings from November 1st to December 30th. Must use code: VP 623095
Celeb Elvis Presley was far from the only person of fame to have served in the U.S. military. In fact, several people who are known for their accomplishments in other fields got their start in the armed forces. Meet some of the other well-known veterans throughout history that you may not be aware of:
The Apollo 11 Team
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins comprised the historic Apollo 11 Team that successfully landed and walked on the moon in 1969. While they will always be remembered as the first men to go to the moon, all three of them served in the military. Armstrong served as a Navy pilot and saw action in the Korean War, Aldrin was among the top of his class at West Point before serving in Korea with the Air Force and Collins was a member of some of the most prestigious flight programs as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. All three men used their experiences from the military to eventually become astronauts with NASA, leading to the first-ever moon mission that marked their names in history.
At the ripe age of 18, before his musical career took off, Johnny Cash was a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Force. Serving from 1950-1954, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, West Germany where he worked as a morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. In fact, Cash was officially the first American to know about Stalin’s death when he decoded a message while monitoring Soviet Morse Code chatter in 1953. Cash was then tasked to tell the critical information to his superiors. Cash began his musical journey during his time in the military, having formed his first band during service: The Landsberg Barbarians. After his service and into his thriving musical legacy, Cash continued to show his appreciation for his roots by participating in concerts and events designed to support our nation’s troops.
Bea Arthur and Betty White
Long before they were your favorite Golden Girls, Bea Arthur and Betty White served in the U.S. military. At just 20 years old, Bea Arthur enlisted with the Marine Corps’ Women’s Reservists, becoming one of the first people to do so. She served as a typist at Marine Headquarters
in Washington, D.C. and later transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to become a driver and dispatcher. Arthur was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945 with the title of staff sergeant. White served with the American Women’s Voluntary Services; an organization dedicated to providing support to the war effort. She also worked as a PX truck driver delivering military supplies to the barracks in the Hollywood Hills and regularly attended farewell dances for departing troops hosted to boost troop morale.
One of the most beloved figures in the veteran community, Chuck Norris wouldn’t be who he is today if it wasn’t for his service in the Air Force. In 1958, after graduating high school, Norris became an Air Policeman and was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was there that Norris began studying martial arts and earned his first black belt in Tang Soo Do. Once Norris was discharged from service in 1962, he went on to participate in martial arts competitions, became the World Middleweight Karate Champion from 1968 to 1974 and launched his acting career. Though it’s been 60 years since Norris was discharged from the Air Force, he still dedicates his projects, time and money to veterans’ efforts. He has worked with organizations such as the USO and the Veterans Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans and was the spokesperson for the U.S. Veterans Administration. He received the Veteran of the Year award from the Air Force in 2001 and was even made an honorary Marine in 2007.
Everyone knows Harriet Tubman and her brilliant work with the Underground Railroad, but many people often forget her military history. After escaping slavery and rescuing over 70 other slaves working for the Underground Railroad, Tubman worked with Colonel James Montgomery and the Union Army as a nurse and spy. Her work consisted of tending to the wounds of soldiers and escaped slaves, but mostly entailed gaining intel on the Confederate soldiers for the Union Army. Tubman created a spy ring in South Carolina, paid informants for intel that would be useful to the Union Army and was one of the leaders that helped to plan and execute the Combahee Ferry Raid. The raid successfully caught Confederate soldiers off guard, allowing a group of Black Union Army soldiers to free more than 700 slaves. Her contributions made her the first woman in American history to lead a military assault.
Before her career as a senator for the state of Illinois, Tammy Duckworth was a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Joining the Army Reserves in 1990 and transferring to the National Guard in 1996, Duckworth served as a helicopter pilot while stationed in Iraq. In 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocketpropelled grenade resulting in the loss of both of her legs and limited mobility in her right arm. Despite being the first female double amputee of that particular war, Duckworth obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue her service in the National Guard for another 10 years. She retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Duckworth has worked relentlessly to advocate for the needs and wellbeing of the veteran community. With her high ranking position with the Department of Veterans Affairs and her status as a U.S. senator, Duckworth has created government-sponsored programs to help veterans with PTSD, advocated for the needs of women and Native American veterans, created initiatives to bring an end to veteran homelessness and helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Before Clint Eastwood was an actor, musician, director and your favorite gun-slinging cowboy, he served in the U.S. Army. In fact, without Eastwood’s Army service, he may have never become the iconic figure he is today. Before he got the chance to enroll in college, Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Fort Ord in California where he met future co-stars Martin Milner and David Janssen. Upon discharge from the Army, Eastwood used his GI Bill benefits to study drama at L.A. City College and soon after landed his contract with Universal Studios. The rest is history.
James Earl Jones
An iconic actor with a distinctive voice, James Earl Jones is best known for his work throughout Hollywood and as the voice of one of Hollywood’s most notorious sci-fi villains, Darth Vader. But before he ventured into the world of Hollywood, Jones served with the Army during the Korean War. A member of the University of Michigan’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, Jones was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and assigned to Headquarters Company, 38th Regimental Combat Team. Jones served his first and only assignment at the former Camp Hale, where he helped establish a cold weather training command. His battalion became a training unit and Jones was promoted to first lieutenant before being discharged soon after. He went on to begin his acting career straight out of the service at the Ramsdell Theater in Michigan and has since made significant contributions to the world of the arts.
This year’s Annual Department of the Navy Gold Coast Conference, held September 6-8, 2022, focused on “Thriving as a Department of the Navy Small Business in a World of Global Challenges.”
In its 34th year, the Navy Gold Coast Conference is the nation’s premier Navy-centered small business procurement event and the only procurement event co-sponsored by the Department of the Navy’s(DON) Office of Small Business Programs.The Navy’s primary purpose in co-sponsoring the event with the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is to educate, guide and assist businesses in providing vital goods and services to meet government needs, particularly in the Navy and Department of Defense.
This year’sNavy Gold Coast Conferenceattracted over 1,700 defense industrial base attendees, and almost 250 booths lined the exhibit hall with representatives from government acquisition offices and small, medium and large businesses.Many of these are owned and operated by service-disabled veterans (SDVOSBs) or participants in the federal government’s 8(a) Business Development Program.The federal government’s goal is to award at least 3 percent of all federal contracting dollars to SDVOSBs and 5 percent to disadvantaged businesses each year, and the Navy Gold Coast Conference
This year’s Navy Gold Coast Conference sponsors included Bank of America (Platinum), Unanet and Deltek(Diamond), Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris, BAE Systems, Raytheon Technologies (Gold) and over 40 small business sponsors.
navyNavyThe Keynote presentation was from the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Hon. Carlos Del Toro.Additional presentations included a discussion on Small Business and the Future by the Hon. Isabella Casillas Guzman, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); a briefing on Getting Started in Government Contracting from Mr. Michael Sabellico, Senior Procurement Advisor of the San Diego Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC); and a round table discussion on DON Supply Chain Readiness including Mr. Jimmy Smith (SES), Director, DON Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) and RADM Peter Stamatopoulous, Commander of Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP).
In addition to professional networking and small business matchmaking,a wide variety of issues affecting small business federal contracting were covered, includingExporting, Accounting Requirements, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR), Mentor Protégé Programs, Racial Equality and Support for Underserved Communities, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and How to do Business with the DON and Other Government Agencies
Navy Gold Coast Conference is also the venue for the NDIA San Diego Chapter’s“Twice a Citizen Award.” This award is given to Reserve Service or National Guard members from the San Diego Area.Nominees demonstrate leadership, self-sacrifice, commitment to service and outstanding overall performance.Nominees must also have provided exceptional professional performance while participating in contingency/support activities outside drill weekends.This year’s winners are Chief Petty Officer Joshua R. Berman, Chief Petty Officer Joseph A. Pisano, Chief Melanie A. Maldonado and Commander Ron Giusso.
Next year’s Gold Coast is scheduled for 26-28 July 2023 in San Diego.
If ever there was a true profile in courage that is Noah Galloway’s story to tell.
While the U.S. Army veteran lost both his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee to an IED attack during Operation Iraqi Freedom, that hasn’t stopped him from pushing his own limits becoming a nationwide inspiration as a result.
Although his injuries certainly posed many unforeseen challenges and his life was forever changed, the Purple Heart recipient believes now he is mentally and physically stronger than ever.
“My mother always told me to join the military, but I never joined until I wanted to,” he said in a recent phone interview. “I told her if something happens, I chose this. I’ll never forget that conversation. When I got injured and I went through my depression that was the worst shape I had ever been in in my life. I wasn’t taking care of myself and that was a reflection of my whole life — I wasn’t being a good father; I wasn’t being a good husband or anything. It was my children who were the motivation for me to get back and start taking care of myself.
The first thing I did was change the way I was eating then I joined a 24-hour gym because I was embarrassed, and I think a lot of people can relate to that if they have never been into fitness. It’s hard to walk into a gym for the first time. I would go in at 2:00 in the morning because there were no books, magazines or anything on the internet that told you how to work out missing an arm and a leg. Actually, I would say that was a benefit because it motivated me, and I had to figure it out. I kind of fed off of that and I have met amputees from all over the world who told me they have seen my videos and pictures and that’s how they got into fitness. For me, that’s pure motivation to know that something I did inspired them, and it drives me to just keep wanting to do more and more. Getting back into shape was so critical with my recovery in accepting myself.”
In 2014, the Alabama native became the first amputee veteran to appear on the cover of Men’s Health. “When I was in the military, I used to say I wanted to be on the cover of Men’s Health because fitness has been a part of my life since I was 12 years old,” he said. After earning the magazine’s “Ultimate Guy” title, he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and later became a finalist on Dancing With The Stars.
“Once I went on Ellen, things just took off,” he told us. “As soon as that episode aired, I got phone calls from Survivor, which I was excited about, but I couldn’t do that because I have three kids who were young at the time, so I turned it down. When Dancing With The Stars called, I told them I had no dancing experience and had to stay in Alabama. They didn’t even hesitate. They said they would send a dancer to Birmingham where we would rehearse then they would fly me back and forth to LA for the live show. Then, I didn’t think I’d last long, but halfway through the season, I was still there. The fifth week, I did a dance to Toby Keith’s “American Soldier” and I did a one-arm lift and I got a standing ovation from all of the judges and the studio audience; it was incredible. I had veterans start reaching out to me, and that changed everything. But I didn’t become a better dancer.”
On September 16, Galloway’s No Excuses Charitable Fund is hosting their second annual charity golf tournament at Timberline Golf Club in Calera, Ala. with proceeds this year benefitting Homes for Our Troops.
“I know there are people who are more inspirational, but people reach out to me and say they got into fitness because of me,” Galloway said. “To know that you have done something, even if it’s for one person to improve their life, is just so motivating.”
To check out his book, Living With No Excuses: The Remarkable Rebirth of An American Soldier, visit noahgalloway.com.
Providing Business, DVBE. Employment & Educational Opportunities For Veterans