"This Country Cares"
Thank you Health Net for the invitation to this year’s Congressional Medal of Honor 2011 Louisville Convention this past week and weekend. What an honor.
The first action upon hitting the ground in Louisville on Thursday, September 29 was to film country music star and military service member and family supporter, Darryl Worley for Blue Star Families suicide prevention series “This Country Cares”.
Darryl has not wavered in his support for those who put their lives on the line for democracy – specifically our service members. Songs such as “have You Forgotten” came about after trips to visit U.S. troops in 2002 and spurred a series of visits both here in the U.S. and overseas.
Not only did Darryl film for our important series, he also agreed to speak on the behalf of Blue Star Families when called upon to talk about this important issue for our service members, veterans and their families. And if that were not enough, he also pledged to reach out to other leading country music artists to join us in this campaign. Thank you Darryl. Your support of our community is commendable, your openness and generosity is amazing. Dodie & I enjoyed our time with you.
Darryl has received the VFW’s Americanism Award and the USO’s Merit Award, and the Tennessee House of Representatives cited him for his contributions to country music.
Later that evening, before the sold out variety show “A Tribute to American Valor,” we were welcomed at a special dinner at the KFC YUM! Center where I was surrounded by some of the most honored military service members and veterans – the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. At this first opening event, the celebration to honor 150 years of courage and service began by showcasing our heros from World War ll, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 400 entertainers, singers and dancers performed before the 10,000 spectators. Local, regional and national talent highlighted Medal of Honor history, and the tribute will be broadcast live to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and throughout the world.
The following day, the Medal of Honor recipients and those of us honored to participate were treated to an afternoon at Churchill Downs and luncheon – we were introduced to Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby Winner and even watched 2 year olds run a special race in honor of the Medal of Honor recipients. What a spectacular event and time.
The evening that followed was a gala so perfectly orchestrated. During the Triple Crown Reception prior to the gala, I was introduced to Dennis Haysbert, the MC for the evening’s gala who accepted our invitation film for the Blue Star Families Suicide Prevention PSA series. For those who don’t immediately recognize the same, Mr. Haysbert is known for portraying baseball player Pedro Cerrano in the Major League film trilogy, President David Palmer on the American television series 24, and Sergeant Major Jonas Blane on the drama series The Unit, as well as his work in commercials for Allstate Insurance. Thank you, Dennis. We look forward to filming with you in the coming weeks!
Although surrounded by amazing honorees, we had wonderful extended conversations with Jay Vargus (with Tom Tarantino from IAVA), Sammy Davis and Walter Marm (with Dodie McCracken, Health Net). What an honor to have have the unique opportunity to meet some Medal of Honor recipients from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and Afghanistan. Health Net, a gracious Blue Star Families partner, has pledged through its Community Giving Program to support events, like the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention, that help active duty service members, Reserve Component members, retirees, Veterans, survivors and military families achieve a fit and healthy life, and honors their service and sacrifice to our nation. Thank you to Health Net for the invitation to join them at this special event.
The capstone to this weekend of honoring those who served, was a final “yes” to film the Blue Star Families Suicide Prevention Series “This Country Cares” from Trace Adkins, country music star. We’ll be recording in Nashville in the weeks to come. Mr. Adkins was himself honored at the evening gala for his commitment to our military. Mr. Adkins was himself honored at the evening gala for his commitment to our military service members. Thank you, Trace, for supporting the Blue Star Families suicide prevention efforts and for your never faltering support of our troops, veterans and families.
By Sheri Lapan