Memorial Day Freebies and Discounts for Veterans and Servicemembers

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Remember and honor words with flag in background for Memorial Day observance

As part of Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day, several businesses and organizations across the country are offering free and discounted services to servicemembers and veterans this month.

Check out the list below to see the ways in which others are supporting and appreciating our troops.

Unless otherwise specified, these deals apply to all branches of the military for active-duty, retired, and veteran members.
 
 

Meal Deals: Memorial Day 2023

Bob Evans: As a general rule of thumb, Bob Evans offers a 10% discount for active, veterans and retired military every day. While they’ve offered more menus and specials in the past, it’s unclear if there will be anything extra for Memorial Day 2023.

Café Rio: Participating Café Rio restaurants give a 25% discount nationwide to veterans from Tuesdays through Sundays with a military ID. Plus, locations in Virginia and Maryland offer 50% off on Military Mondays.

Cici’s Pizza: Cici’s Pizza offers military and veterans’ discounts at participating locations. The discounts vary by eatery.

Cracker Barrel: all active duty service members and Veterans can enjoy a free sandwich on their designated day during Mission’s annual Armed Forces Week.

Dairy Queen: Certain Dairy Queen locations offer military and veterans discounts, some up to 50% off select items or orders. But the discounts can vary by store; check with your local DQ for more information.

Fogo de Chao: On Memorial Day this year, Fogo de Chao is offering 50% off a meal for active and veteran military personnel and 10% off up to three guests’s meals.

Fuddruckers: Select Fuddruckers locations 10 to 15 percent off with military ID at participating locations. Contact your local restaurant for more information.

Hard Rock Cafe: Hard Rock Cafe offers 15 % off all food, non-alcoholic beverage and retail purchases with valid military ID.

Home Chef: Military personnel and veterans can get 50% off of their first purchase from Home Chef and 10% off all additional boxes.

Hooters: Just show a valid form of ID at any Hooters restaurant, and 10% will be taken off of your bill, 20% off on Tuesdays. This discount applies to all military personnel and is for food only, not alcohol.

Joe’s Crab Shack: At Joe’s Crab Shack, they are offering 15% off to US military members and veterans on Memorial Day.

Kolache Factory: Kolache Factory restaurants offer a year-round 10% discount to veterans and active military members. Just present a current ID at the register and enjoy a sweet or savory pastry treat!

Logan’s Roadhouse: Logan’s Roadhouse offers active-duty and veteran military service members a 10% discount on their meals every day with valid military ID or proof of service.

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon: All veterans and active-duty personnel get a 20% discount every Monday and 10% off every other day at Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon.

Long John Silver: The restaurant offers a 10% military discount all year long at participating Long John Silver locations when you show your valid military ID. And on Military Mondays—like Memorial Day 2023—that discount increases to 20% off your order.

Melting Pot: Participating Melting Pot locations offer military appreciation discounts throughout the year—often increasing the discount around Memorial Day. Check your local restaurant for details.

Omaha Steaks: Omaha Steaks offers a $10 military discount on online orders for active-duty military, retirees, veterans, spouses and dependents who verify online.

Outback Steakhouse: Through Outback’s Heroes Discount, you can get 10% off of your entire check while dining in or for takeout when you show a valid ID.

Pie Five Pizza: Last year, Pie Five Pizza restaurants saluted America’s heroes by giving a free pizza to active, veterans and retired military personnel who presented proof of service or military ID. Check with your local Pie Five Pizza restaurant to see if they are offering that freebie deal again for Memorial Day 2023.

Texas de Brazil: Texas de Brazil offers military members, veterans, first responders, nurses and teachers a 15% discount off of regular dinner and lunch prices, good for up to four guests per visit with valid ID.

TGI Fridays: TGI Friday’s has offered a 25% off on all family meals and platers during the Memorial Day weekend.
Wendy’s: Members of Veterans Advantage will get special coupon savings on patriotic holidays, including Memorial Day, as well as qualify for other Wendy’s discounts all year long.

Retail: Memorial Day Discounts for Veterans

Academy Sports + Outdoors: Through July 4, Academy Sports is offering a 10% discount online and in stores to military members and first responders.

Adidas: Military personnel, veterans, first responders teachers, medical professionals and nurses can get 30% off at Adidas online or in-store as well as 20 % off at Adidas factory outlet stores after verifying their status.

Alpha Industries: Alpha Industries offers 30% off for active duty, reserve and retired military personnel. Exclusions apply.

Armitron: The watch company offers active duty, veterans and dependents 10% off an online purchase. Verify online and receive a single-use code via email that can be applied at checkout. You can even verify for additional codes from Armitron for future purchases, but there is a limit of one code per day.

Asics: Asics offers 40 percent off full-price purchases online for military personnel, medical professionals, teachers, students and first responders.

Blanquil: Get a better night’s sleep with a 40% discount off all regularly-priced items at BlanQuil. Verify your status and you’ll receive a promo code to apply at checkout

Clarks: Clarks offers a Troop Discount for active duty, retired and veteran military personnel as well as spouses, plus teachers and first responders.

Converse: All active, reservist, veteran and retired US Military personnel, as well as the spouses and dependents of active personnel can get a 10% discount from Converse.

Dell: Military personnel can get 10% off select Dell and Alienware PCs and accessories and 15% off during Military Appreciation Week.

DiscountContactLenses.com: Score 20% off DiscountContactLenses.com when you verify your status.

DiscountGlasses.com: At DiscountGlasses.com, get 30% off after verifying your status.

Eyemart Express: There is a year-round 20% discount on eyewear at Eyemart Express offered to active and non-active military members, veterans and dependents. The discount only applies to optical eyewear and sunglasses (not contact lenses or eye exams) and all you have to do is show a valid ID card at the time of purchase.

Home Depot: Apply online at Home Depot and active military and veterans can enjoy a daily 10% discount in stores and online—up to $400 a calendar year. The discount is also available to current spouses of service members enrolled in the program.

Hulu: If you sign up for Hulu through MyExchange, you can get a 25% off each month of the streaming service if you sign up for a monthly subscription through MyExchange. This is only for Hulu with ads. Hylete: Hylete offers up to 30% off on all orders after military verification  (including active duty, reserve and honorably discharged), veterans, first responders and hospital staff with a GovX ID.

Jiffy Lube: Active duty, retired and veteran military personnel can score 15% off year-round at select Jiffy Lube locations.

Life Extension: Veterans Advantage members can get up to 70% off pampering Life Extension products.

Lowe’s: Active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses can get a 10% discount on eligible items all year long online and in stores after verifying their status with Lowe’s.

Mattress Firm: Verify your status online and you will be emailed a coupon code for an extra 10-20% off at Mattress Firm. Spouses and registered dependents are also eligible to enjoy the discount! You can apply for a new single-use discount every 90 days.

Related: Military Retirement Gifts

Midas: With a valid government ID, active military and veterans can receive 10% off at participating Midas locations.

Nike: Nike offers a 10% discount for active, veteran, retired and reservist military.

O’Reilly Auto Parts: Eligible active duty, retired and veteran military personnel and their immediate family members can get 10% off the retail price of in-store items at O’Reilly Auto Parts, with some exceptions. Just present proof at the register.Related: These Dogs Are Having the Best Memorial Day

Rack Room Shoes: Rack Room Shoes offers a 10% military discount every Tuesday for personnel who present a valid ID—and that discount doubles to 20% on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veterans Day! Available in-store only.

Reebok: Military personnel, government employees, teachers, medical and hospital workers can get a 50% off Heroes Discount from Reebok.

Restore Hyper Wellness: Restore wellness studios offered 20% for single services, packages and memberships to veterans and military service people all year long last year. Treatments offered include Cryotherapy, IV Drip Therapy, Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Compression, Red Light Therapy and Infrared Saunas (among others) as well as skincare services like Cryoskin and HydraFacial. Check with your local Restore studio for details.

Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone offers a 10% military discount to active duty, retired and veteran military personnel. Verification is required through ID.me.

Sherwin-Williams: Paint the town red, white and blue! Sherwin-Williams offers a 15% military discount to active duty, retired and veteran military personnel and spouses year-round.

Shoney’s: Shoney’s has a 15% off discount for all military and veterans, as well as first responders, in uniform or with valid ID.

Sleep Number: Through June 5, 2023, military and veterans can apply for Sleep Number’s Hero Discount. Verify your status and receive a promo code for 20% off.

T-Mobile: Active-duty military, veterans and their families can take 40% off of family lines with T-Mobile‘s Go5G Military unlimited plan (with 5G access included).

Tuft & Needle: Tuft & Needle offers 15% off for military personnel, veterans, healthcare workers and first responders.

Uncharted Supply Co.: Uncharted Supply Co. offers a discount to all active-duty military, veterans and dependents. You can verify every 24 hours to receive a one-time promo code.

Under Armour: Under Armour offers a 20% discount for active duty and retired military and veterans as well as their families. First responders, nurses, teachers, doctors and EMTs are also eligible for the discount, which is sometimes upped to 40 percent off for a limited time.

Walgreens: Veterans, military members and their families who have a myWalgreens membership can enjoy a 20% discount (with proof of service) from May 26 through May 29 at Walgreens stores. Restrictions apply.

Zenni Optical: Zenni Optical offers a 10% military discount for active duty, veterans, reservists and military spouses all year long.

Activities: Memorial Day Freebies for Military Members

Blue Star Theaters: Military families can get complimentary and discounted admission to Blue Star Theaters.

Busch Gardens Theme Park Admission: Busch Gardens theme parks offer active-duty military members and veterans and their families special ticket pricing and free admission through its Waves of Honor program. Offers differ by park but include SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens, Sesame Place and Discovery Cove locations. Visit Waves of Honor for details.

Colonial Williamsburg Admission: On either Memorial Day Weekend or Veterans Day Weekend, active-duty military, retired military personnel and veterans can receive free admission (once annually) for themselves and up to three direct dependents to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg also offers other discounts throughout the year. Must show proof at the ticket office when purchasing.

Free Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Admission: For members of the Veterans Advantage rewards program, the regular adult admission will be waived when you show your VetRewards card at the ticket office and tickets for family members will be discounted to 20% off.

Magic Springs Admission: Magic Springs Theme Park and Water Park in Host Springs, AR, has designated Saturday, May 27, through Sunday, June 11, as HERO Appreciation Days—and is giving free admission to military, police, correction officers, healthcare workers and other heroes who show their professional ID at the ticket window. Heroes can buy discounted tickets for their family members who join them for $36.99.

Museum Admission: Through Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts, museums across America are offering free admission for active-duty military members and their families all summer long. The program runs from Armed Forces Day (Saturday, May 20) through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4). Check out the list of Blue Star Museums for more information.

Free Rings: Qalo accessories is celebrating Military Family Appreciation Month by giving free silicon rings from the Military Heroes collection to those that serve and have served. Just verify status at checkout.

Silverwood Theme Parks Admission: Memorial Day Weekend—May 27, 28 and 29, 2023—is American Heroes’ Weekend at Silverwood Theme Park and Boulder Beach in Athol, Idaho. With identification, all military personnel, veterans, police officers, firefighters and medics will receive free admission and their joining spouses and children can purchase discounted tickets at the front gate.

Zoo Tickets: Many zoos around the country have special discounts all year long for veterans and active-duty military members in addition to free ticket deals in May. All military members—active or retired—will receive free admission to the Cincinnati Zoo on Memorial Day, July 4th and Veterans Day, and up to six half-price admission tickets for immediate family. The Indianapolis Zoo offers current and former military members free admission on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Last year, the Birmingham Zoo offered veterans, retired and active military and up to six family members free admission throughout Memorial Day Weekend; they seem to offer military discount on these special days, yearly, so check this year for 2023’s deals. Look up your local zoo to see if they are offering free tickets, too!

Be sure to go online, or call your local restaurant, retailer or entertainment spot to make sure they are participating!

For more deals, visit Parade.com.

World War II veterans return to Utah Beach to mark D-Day anniversary

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World War ll veterans lined up to salute

By Sylvie Corbet and Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press

ON UTAH BEACH, France — World War II veterans shared vivid memories of D-Day and the fighting as dozens returned to Normandy beaches and key battle sites to mark the 79th anniversary of the decisive assault that led to the liberation of France and Western Europe from Nazi control.

Looking at the vastness of Utah Beach, its sand blowing in strong wind and bright sunshine, 99-year-old Robert Gibson remembered: “it was tough.”
 

U.S war veterans salute during a ceremony outside the Pegasus Bridge memorial in Benouville, Normandy, Monday, June 5, 2023. (Thomas Padilla/AP)

Gibson landed there on June 6, 1944 alongside more than 150,000 other Allied troops.

He said there were “lots of casualties. We had almost run over bodies to get in the beach. Never forget we were only 18, 19 years old. … I’m glad I made it.”

The first job of his battalion, he said, was “to guard an ammunition dump and the first night it got struck. You didn’t know where you were to go. Bullets were going all over the place. But we ducked it.”

On Monday, veterans have been greeted to the sound of bagpipes at the Pegasus Memorial, where they attended a ceremony commemorating a key operation in the first minutes of the D-Day operations, when troops had to take control of a strategic bridge.

World War II veterans Jake Larson, a 100-year-old American, and Bill Gladden, a 99-year-old British national, met at the memorial where they had a close discussion.

“I want to give you a hug, thank you. I got tears in my eyes. We were meant to meet,” Larson told Gladden, their hands clasped.

Larson, who has more than 600,000 followers on TikTok, explained with enthusiasm: “I’m just a country boy. Now I’m a star on TikTok. You can see me all over: ‘Papa Jake.’ I’m a legend! I didn’t plan this, it came about.”

Larson landed on Omaha Beach, where he ran under machine-gun fire and made it to the cliffs without being wounded.

“I’m 100 without an ache or a pain. You can’t fake that,” he said.

U.S. veteran Andrew Negra returned for the first time to Utah Beach this year. The last time he stood there was when he landed on July 18, 1944.

He was “amazed” by the warm welcome from local French people: “Every place we went, people are cheering, clapping, and they’ve been doing this for I don’t know how many years.”

At age 99, Negra is the only member of his battalion who is still alive. Braving the wind to walk on the beach for a few minutes, he said, “So many we lost. And here I am.”

Negra participated in combat operations until his division reached eastern Germany in April 1945.

Cheerful crowds applauded, calling out “Merci” and “Thank you.” Children waved, and many families asked for a photo with the men.

Read more of the article on Military Times here.

Support Veterans With the Call of Duty Endowment Valkyrie Pack in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Call of Duty: Warzone 2.0

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Call of Duty ad

Season 03 Reloaded is here for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0, and players can show their appreciation for military veterans by picking up a new Call of Duty Endowment Pack.

The Call of Duty Endowment Valkyrie Pack honors female veterans and the substantial contributions they make every day in the military. Sales of the Valkyrie Pack also directly contributes to the Endowment’s mission to place unemployed and underemployed veterans in the U.S. and U.K. into high-quality jobs.

The Valkyrie Pack includes:

• “The Valkyrie” Roze Operator Skin
• “Sting” Handgun Blueprint
• “Winged Warrior” Assault Rifle Blueprint
• “Eagle Driver” Light Helo Vehicle Skin
• “Brave” Weapon Charm
• “Remove Before Flight” Sticker
• “Tornado” Animated Emblem
• One Double Player XP Token
• One Double Weapon XP Token

For additional information, head to the Call of Duty blog: https://www.callofduty.com/blog/2023/05/call-of-duty-endowment-modern-warfare-II-warzone-2-0-valkyrie-pack-veterans

‘FUBAR’ stars Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first-ever TV show

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Arnold Swartzennager in suit walking away from a fire

By Sarah Sicard, Army Times

Nearly every person who has ever had the honor of serving in the U.S. military knows that when a situation goes entirely sideways, it’s “FUBAR.”

One film industry note that might be seen as “f—d up beyond all recognition” is that Arnold Schwarzenegger has never starred in a TV show during his 54-year acting career … until now.

At 75 years old, the former body building champion, “Terminator” star and California governor has produced and starred in an upcoming Netflix series called “FUBAR,” a story about a CIA agent on the verge of retirement until one last mission pulls him back in.

“Everywhere I go, people ask me when I’m going to do another big action comedy like ‘True Lies,’” Schwarzenegger said in the Netflix first look. “Well, here it is.”

In “FUBAR,” Schwarzenegger plays Luke Brunner, whose final mission before he rides off into the sunset to win his ex-wife back entails rescuing a fellow CIA operative who happens to be his daughter — played by Monica Barbaro (”Top Gun: Maverick”).

Much like the aforementioned 1994 action comedy, the series will test family dynamics as carefully held secrets become comically exposed through life and death situations. But unlike the movie, fans will get to enjoy a significantly longer story.

“‘FUBAR’ will kick your ass and make you laugh — and not just for two hours,” Schwarzenegger joked. “You get a whole season.”

The trailer is everything we could have wanted.

“FUBAR” arrives on Netflix on May 25.

Read more from Army Times here.

Photo Credit: Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

NASA names naval aviator to lead next moon mission

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Capt. Reid Wiseman smiling wearing Astronaut suit

NASA announced Monday a naval aviator will lead an upcoming mission around the moon, bringing humans deeper into space than has been achieved in more than five decades.

Navy Capt. Gregory “Reid” Wiseman will serve as the commander for the Artemis II mission, scheduled for November 2024 at the earliest.

The journey will mark the first crewed lunar mission for the space agency since the Apollo program ended in 1972.

(NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman is selected to lead the upcoming Artemis II mission around the moon.

(Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center via NASA)

Wiseman is set to be joined by Navy Capt. Victor Glover, who will serve as the flight crew’s pilot, as well as NASA astronaut Christina Koch and Canadian astronaut JeremyHansen, a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers — the Artemis generation,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said at a news conference at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas.

On their roughly 10-day mission, the crew will orbit the moon aboard an Orion spacecraft using a Space Launch System rocket. NASA test launched the space capsule back in November 2022.

The Artemis program looks to build toward further moon missions later this decade, which NASA says will include landing the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface. The space agency is targeting a 2025 launch date for that mission, known as Artemis III.

Before being selected as an astronaut in 2009, Wiseman commissioned to the sea service through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1997, according to his NASA biography. The Baltimore, Maryland, native deployed twice to the Middle East and later served as a Navy test pilot. More recently, he held the most senior position among NASA’s astronaut corps.

This will be Wiseman’s second trip to space after serving aboard the International Space Station in 2014. It will also be his fellow naval aviator Glover’s second space flight, having previously piloted NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1.

Read the complete article originally posted on Military Times.

Ridley Scott, Joaquin Phoenix team for ‘Napoleon’ war movie

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soldiers on horseback with swords in action epic “Napoleon”

By Sarah Sicard Military Times

French Emperor and military conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte is getting the silver screen treatment at the hands of famed director Ridley Scott (“Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down”).

The movie, titled after its namesake, stars Joaquin Phoenix (“The Joker”) as the controversial lead.

“The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby,” according to an Apple TV+ press release. “[It] captures Napoleon’s famous battles, relentless ambition and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary.”

An unremitting military commander during the French Revolution, Bonaparte was elected to the role of French Emperor after the dissolution of the country’s monarchy. However, he abdicated in 1814 after an unsuccessful invasion of Russia turned the European continent against him.

Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba but regained power after waging his infamous Hundred Days campaign in 1815. His loss at the Battle of Waterloo, however, forced a second abdication and exile on the island of Saint Helena. Bonaparte died at the relatively young age of 51.

The phrase “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever” has been attributed to Bonaparte. And although he did die in relative obscurity, his notorious legacy remains.

Produced by Apple Studios in partnership with Sony Pictures, “Napoleon” debuts in theaters on Nov. 22 before appearing on Apple TV+.

Read the article originally posted on Military Times.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Apple +

The 1st & Goal Project Celebrity & Veterans Golf Invitational Wrap-Up

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Club hosts Pat and Kathy Aitro with the Mayans M.C. (Joseph Raymond Lucero, Emilio Rivera, Michael Irby). (Courtesy of The 1st & Goal Project)

The 1st & Goal Project hosted its inaugural Celebrity & Veterans Golf Invitational at Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club in Coto de Caza, California, on March 20, 2023. The vision of Dave DesRochers, founder and CEO of The 1st & Goal Project and president of the NFLPA OC Chapter, was to create an event that would generate awareness and funds for local veteran assistance programs.

The event raised funds in support of CarePossible, Veterans Legal Institute, Patriots & Paws and MVP (Merging Vets & Players).

Each nonprofit provides a wide range of programs and support for those who have served our country. DesRochers and his fiancé, AnnMarie, were surrounded by his club sponsors Pat and Kathy Aitro, co-hosts Anthony Munoz (HOF NFL) and Nate Boyer (Green Beret, NFL and co-founder of MVP).
 

Pictured: Club hosts Pat and Kathy Aitro with the Mayans M.C. (Joseph Raymond Lucero, Emilio Rivera, Michael Irby). (Courtesy of The 1st & Goal Project)

Numerous celebrities from the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, plus actors, sponsors, vendors and, of course, veterans that were sponsored to play, attended the event and demonstrated their skills.

Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club was the perfect venue to hold the invitational, with two Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed courses. The picturesque scenery of the courses is spectacular, accented with windmills, gorgeous rolling hill backdrops and beautiful homes. The greens were rolling pure, even with all the recent rain, and the courses provided plenty of challenging holes even for the avid golfer.

(L-R) Isaac Curtis (NFL, Cincinnati Bengals Ring of Honor) with Byron Scott (NBA player and head coach). (Olivia Sullivan)
(L-R) Isaac Curtis (NFL, Cincinnati Bengals Ring of Honor) with Byron Scott (NBA player and head coach). (Olivia Sullivan)

The festivities kicked off the night before the invitational at the Sponsor, Veteran & Celebrity Meet and Greet at Great American Craft Bar in Santa Margarita, California. It was a fun-filled evening, and the venue was a fantastic fit providing top-shelf spirits from American-distilled and American-based companies. The food was provided by Chef Leo Razo of Villa Roma in Laguna Hills, California.

Nate Boyer (honorary host, Green Beret, NFL, Founder MVP), Mikal Vega (Navy Seal, Purple Heart recipient, 2 bronze Medal of Valor, actor and director Call of Duty) and Dave DesRochers (host, CEO of The 1st & Goal Project, president NFLPA OC Chapter). (Olivia Sullivan)
Nate Boyer (honorary host, Green Beret, NFL, Founder MVP), Mikal Vega (Navy Seal, Purple Heart recipient, 2 bronze Medal of Valor, actor and director Call of Duty) and Dave DesRochers (host, CEO of The 1st & Goal Project, president NFLPA OC Chapter). (Olivia Sullivan)
A large number of celebrities attended the invitational. (Olivia Sullivan)
A large number of celebrities attended the invitational. (Olivia Sullivan)
Autographed footballs on display
Autographed footballs on display. (Olivia Sullivan)
Tyree Washington (retired sprinter, awarded the 400m Gold Medal). (Olivia Sullivan)
Tyree Washington (retired sprinter, awarded the 400m Gold Medal). (Olivia Sullivan)
Actor Joseph Lucero. (Olivia Sullivan)
Actor Joseph Lucero. (Olivia Sullivan)

“My vision is to hold this event annually and to grow it each year to provide more funds for our local programs here in Orange County. Based on initial responses, I can assure you that next year will be huge. So, if you missed this year, get in early,” said DesRochers.

Visit the 1st & Goal Project website at: https://the1standgoalproject.com

Former NFL Seahawk, Dave DesRochers’ The 1st & Goal Project Screens Movie: MVP

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panel of five onstage discussing the movie promo behind them

By Danielle Jackola

“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.

Screening

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

two men and a woman hold U.S. Veterans Magazines, smiling
(L-R) Nate Boyer, star of MVP, Danielle Jackola, senior editor of U.S. Veterans Magazine and Dave DesRochers, founder of The 1st & Goal Project, attend the MVP screening in Laguna Niguel, California.
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 dave@the1standgoalproject.com.

Photos courtesy of Olivia Sullivan @oliviasullivanphoto

National Medal of Honor Day 2023

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SPC 5 Dwight Birdwell receives the Medal of Honor from President Biden at the White House

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

Source: National Today

‘Survivor’ Winner Donates Entire Million Dollar Prize to Veterans: ‘I Am Very Fortunate’

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Mike Gabler headshot with beach background

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.”

Read the complete article posted on PEOPLE.

FOX Nation’s 4th Annual Patriot Awards Ceremony Benefitting the American Red Cross is Tonight

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Fox Nation Patriot Awards

By Kellie Speed

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.

For more information, be sure to visit nation.foxnews.com

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