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article imageBand of Brothers poster signed by cast to help veterans Special

By Samantha A. Torrence     Jun 10, 2013 in Entertainment
Marine turned actor Michael Broderick saw an opportunity to help fellow veterans and jumped at the chance! He spearheaded the Poster Project in hopes to raise donations and awareness for the problems veterans face when transitioning to civilian life.
Veterans returning from war and deployment face a towering amount of obstacles when trying to reintegrate back into civilian life or even life outside of the war zone. Most of these issues have been widely known in the military community for many years, but often times civilians were kept in the dark. The divide between Military culture and American Culture has become so wide, however, that there is a need for new awareness and education to bridge the gap between veterans and the people around them. GallantFew, a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans in transition, was formed in response to these needs.
The mission of the organization was described by Karl Monger:
GallantFew has four major initiatives - one-on-one mentoring, Descendants of Sparta anti-suicide platform, SDVOSB (Veteran small business assistance) and LEO (law enforcement training). The first three are somewhat intertwined with a new initiative we've just started called 1kVets. We plan to positively effect the employability outlook for 1000 veterans between now and the end of the year. I hope to apply any funds raised to support this program.
June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness month which is meant to raise awareness of the effects of PTSD on veterans and their families. There are times when a veteran loses their battle with PTSD sometimes through suicide. Latest statistics show that we lose 22 veterans and 1 active duty member to suicide per day. The Sparta anti-suicide platform is run in collaboration with Boone Cutler of the KKFT-99.3 a Fox Affiliate & 101.3 Renegade Radio in Reno, Nevada show Tipping Point with Boone Cutler. The Spartan Pledge and the vets helping vets concept encourages them to link up as battle buddies and are effective tools in the fight against Warfighter Suicide. Boone Cutler has also worked closely with Karl Monger to spread awareness and educate the law enforcement community on how to handle those Veterans' that are affected by PTSD.
The GallantFew organization caught the attention of actor Michael Broderick, a four year veteran of the Marines who has a passion for helping his brothers and sisters in the military. He was inspired to help GallantFew by organizing a fundraising event. He began The Poster Project with the mission to have the cast and director of Band of Brothers along with Easy Company, the subject of the miniseries, sign a poster to put up for auction. The poster went up on auction on June 6th which will conclude on June 16th. The auction has currently raised $3,550 but Karl hopes it will raise $10,000 - $20,000 not only to help his organization but to reflect the hard work and heart Michael has put into the Poster Project. If you wish to bid on this amazing poster visit the auction page on Ebay by clicking here. And if you are not able to bid on the poster but still wish to donate to GallantFew visit their donation page.
In an interview Michael Broderick touches upon how The Poster Project was inspired and how he hopes it will help GallantFew.
How did you connect with Karl Monger and GallantFew?
I first heard of GallantFew from my friend, Army Ranger Michael Schlitz. Mike introduced me to Karl and they explained the important work that GallantFew does for returning veterans and I knew I wanted to do something to help.
What is the Poster Project?
Michael : The Poster Project was an idea I came up with to raise funds for GallantFew. A while back, GallantFew held a fundraising auction where there were a lot of really awesome pieces of memorabilia up for bid. I'm not really anyone of note, just a working actor, so I didn't really have anything to donate to the auction and missed the opportunity to help. Karl was considering doing another auction in the future but was unsure of the date. A few months later, I came across ValorStudios.com, a website that works very closely with the WWII veterans of Easy Company and offers quite a bit of autographed Band of Brothers memorabilia.
I bought a Band of Brothers poster that had the signatures of Buck Compton, Brad Freeman, Don Malarkey, Earl McClung, Rod Strohl and Ed Tipper and was going to donate it to GallantFew for their next auction. Since there was no date set, I figured I'd see if I could locate a few of the actors from the series and ask them to sign the Poster. That's how it started. 15 months later, the Poster carries the signatures of 28 members of the Band of Brothers cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Damian Lewis. I also obtained the signatures of Easy Company veterans Wild Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron.
Is this a one time project or are there going to be more posters associated with other charity/non-profit organizations?
Michael : This is a one time project. It's been an incredible adventure but it does take a lot of time and energy. After this, I'll be getting back to work.
What was your job when you were in the Marines?
Michael : I served with HML/A-167 in the unglamorous but necessary field of Logistics/Embarkation.
What inspired you to transition from the military to acting?
Michael : I wanted to be an actor before I joined the Marines. My father wasn't crazy about the idea of joining and, as a way to talk me out of it, said, "John Wayne fought in every American war and he never joined the Marines!" Once I had my mind made up, though, both my parents were supportive. After I finished my enlistment, I went to New York to get into acting but ended up playing music instead. It wasn't until 2004 that I moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
What was it like to meet the members of Easy Company that signed the poster?
Michael : Unfortunately, I was unable to meet any of them. The Poster already had those six signatures I mentioned. A friend of Wild Bill and Babe heard about the Project and acquired their signatures for me.
What was it like to meet the cast and director of Band of Brothers?
Michael : Being a fan of the series, it was really great. All of the guys I had the opportunity to meet were very nice and understood what I am trying to accomplish. A few, like Richard Speight (who played Skip Muck) and Ross McCall (Joe Liebgott) were especially helpful and encouraging. In fact, Richard took the Poster with him on a trip to London to get six signatures, including that of Damian Lewis who played Dick Winters.
To get the signatures of Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Hanks, I dropped the Poster off at Dreamworks and at the Broadway theater where Tom was rehearsing for "Lucky Guy", respectively. While I would have loved to have gotten an opportunity to meet everyone who signed the Poster, I understand that these are all very busy people. I'm extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to support the Project.
What personally inspires you to advocate for wounded and transitioning warfighters?
Michael : Mike Schlitz has been a huge inspiration to me. Despite being very badly wounded, the man just doesn't quit. His everyday courage is awe inspiring. Our military men and women are asked to do incredibly difficult things on behalf of all Americans and many of them give up large portions of themselves, mentally and physically. I'm a "peacetime" veteran, so I realize things could have played out differently for me. I feel a responsibility to support those who have served and continue to serve in wartime, especially now that many are coming home and transitioning back to civilian life. That's where GallantFew comes in. Their unique model of facilitating one-on-one mentor relationships between combat veterans is the reason that they are having the success that they are. When Karl told me that he wanted to grow the organization so that it would support all the branches of service, I wanted to help him do that.
I'm very excited to see how the auction finishes. The Poster is, in my opinion, an incredible piece of history and someone out there is going to be the winning bidder. Frankly, I envy them.
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Michael Broderick
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