Public figures who use their elevated platform to raise awareness can be powerful forces for those in need of help. Veterans have long been supported by a range of public figures, particularly celebrities from the film and music industries. From generating higher volumes of donations to starting their own nonprofit organizations that assist veterans in a specific fashion, celebrities are helping to get the word out about the need for more veteran support.
This month, a winner of a major beauty pageant chose to use her platform to raise awareness regarding the needs of veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
First of her kind
Army Times recently reported that Deshauna Barber, an Army officer who won the 2016 Miss USA event, set her sights on veteran assistance in her performance on stage. For example, the source pointed out that Barber, who is the first military members to be crowned as the winner for this competition, had a particularly poignant response to a question regarding the place of women in the military, specifically when in combative situations.
"As a woman in the United States Army, I think … we are just as tough as men," she said, according to Army Times. "As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated. Gender does not limit us in the United States."
The news provider stated that Barber is now planning to take a couple of years off from the Army Reserves should she go on to win the Miss Universe contest later this year. She will be the first American military member to compete in that event. Army Times also noted that she mentioned the extreme flexibility the Army Reserves offers to its service members, and that it has allowed her to be active about twice a month more recently.
A smaller scale, but big impact
Food manufacturer Eckrich and nonprofit Operation Homefront recently announced that they had tapped the skills of celebrity grill master Moe Cason to put on a special event called "Grilling for a Cure" in Arkansas. The celebration worked to recognize and honor one family in the state, and led to a donation of roughly $5,000 in free groceries for them by the end, with Cason doing the cooking. Cason, a veteran himself, spoke to what the event meant to him:
"What Eckrich did was wonderful. I'm glad to be a part of it," said Cason. "I was in the military myself, so I know the trials and tribulations of being in the service."
The patriarch of the family, Roger Lobato, was an Army Specialist who contracted cystic fibrosis. The "Grilling for a Cure" event itself is meant to generate donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"We really value what Eckrich is doing," Lobato explained. "We need people looking after our service members, so when I see a company like Eckrich doing that, it means the world to me."
Whether performed by a big or lesser known celebrity, any work to raise awareness and support veterans is healthy for the community.