The stars and sponsors came out Friday March 10th to honor and support veterans at the 15th Annual Suzanne DeLaurentiis Foundation pre-Oscar Gala at the Luxe Hotel in Los Angeles. A luncheon, fashion show and gifting suite were held to celebrate the courageous men and women of the United States military who fought for the freedom of our country.
The rain didn’t impact the packed carpet as celebrities, veterans, and guests came to show their passion for this foundation which honors and brings awareness to those who have sacrificed so much for their country.
Guests on the carpet included ASCAP award winning recording artist Jade Starling, John Savage (Deer Hunter), Morgan Fairchild (Dallas), Max Martini (Fifty Shades of Grey), Frank Stallone (Staying Alive), and Donny Most (Happy Days).
Actor Max Martini spoke about his appreciation for veterans. “These are the real celebrities in Hollywood. We should be here celebrating and supporting them” Martini shared. “I do a lot of
veteran work on the side and I’m really passionate about it.”
Martini has spent time in front of the camera regarding the armed services. “I’ve done a lot of military movies, I was in Saving Private Ryan, Thirteen Hours, Captain Phillips and a series called ‘The Unit.’ As a result of that I have a lot of friends in the military and I’ve become very passionate about helping soldiers.”
ASCAP Award winning recording artist Jade Starling has been an advocate of the foundation for many years. “What people fail to realize is the anguish and the mental torture that they go through,” said Starling. “They are sacrificing their lives for us everyday to protect ours.”
Starling’s husband is a Navy veteran and she understands the struggles faced by our men and women in service. “My husband served in Guantanamo Bay for a year as a prison guard and it really does mess with your head. He came out of it with PTSD and was despondent.” Starling continued.
“Now he is thriving… I’m so proud of him, I’m very supportive of his career and he’s very supportive of mine.” Starling’s hit song “Catch Me I’m Falling” was recently featured on the Golden-Globe winning show “Dahmer.”
Grammy and Golden Globe nominated actor and musician Frank Stallone has always been involved with the military and its causes. “I grew up in military school and my oldest brother was in the military for twenty years,” Stallone shared. “I got drafted during the Vietnam era. I was in a rock band and was thinking any day could be the day I get the call. But maybe God had me here for another reason.”
Actor John Savage had a very personal connection to the military. “My dad was a kind man, very strong and athletic and he served in the Pacific,” Savage shared. “His whole squad was killed, and he was recovering from the experience for a long time.”
Savage shared this thoughts on the significance of this foundation. “Life continues after service and that’s why this is important. Men and women can benefit by coming together. We have more effort now from people who did serve to get that recovery going and to stay alive and thrive.”
Military honoree Ken Konigsmark was humbled the foundation wanted to acknowledge his service. He shared his story and experience in the armed forces. “I’m a West Point graduate, spent six years active army intelligence officer, then I switched to the Air Force reserves and retired with twenty-six years in uniform.” Konigsmark shared.
“The most adventurous time was a year in Korea when they had a military coup there. There was a little action around the military base, but not nearly what others have experienced,” Konigsmark said. “When you’re in the military you get a sense of duty, it’s something bigger than yourself and you want to contribute and have a purpose and a passion. That’s why I’m involved.”
Suzanne DeLaurentiis has always had immense gratitude for the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform who serve our country. With more than thirty-five years of experience as a Hollywood producer, she wanted to use her platform to give back to the community.
Through her own production company, she launched a successful program called “Operation Hollywood” that would train veterans and active military to work in movie production. In addition to the program, the Suzanne DeLaurentiis Foundation sponsors events throughout the year to shine a spotlight on the vital community of our nations veterans.
These events include black-tie galas, informal parties, luncheons and gifting suites. Military honorees are presented with awards to show appreciation for their service and are invited to speak on their involvement and careers in the armed forces. The Suzanne DeLaurentiis Foundation continues to celebrate, remember and honor the brave American heroes who fight for our country.