Hollywood Takes Action on Meaningful Employment for Vets

05/22/2015 05:11 pm ET | Updated May 22, 2016

I've heard people say that Hollywood is tough, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going. That's certainly true of the veterans who worked on the latest public service announcement for Easter Seals Dixon Center. These men and women, who comprised most of the cast and crew, busted their chops to create an outstanding PSA that took months of prep, a 19-hour shoot day and many more weeks of post-production.

We were able to work with so many former service members because of the Easter Seals partnership with Veterans in Film and Television, a nonprofit networking organization that seeks to unite current and former members of the military working in the film and television industry. This very successful group helped us select Air Force Combat Camera Officer Jim Fabio from more than 50 directorial candidates (all veterans) and made the connections that have enabled us to hire 45 vets across all three of our PSAs.

I'm honored by the actions of retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, actor and comedian Rob Riggle, who volunteered his time to play a leading role in the PSA as an executive interviewing a job candidate who happens to be a veteran. I'll let the PSA speak for itself. It serves as an example of the quality work product veterans produce on a daily basis in the civilian sector, whether for their companies or communities.

This PSA became an opportunity to tangibly support our cause by offering Hollywood powerhouses an actionable connection to veterans. Two years ago, my former boss, Admiral Michael Mullen (former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) spoke at a Variety event in Hollywood. One of the audience members was award-winning director, producer and writer Judd Apatow. Judd was so impressed after hearing Admiral Mullen that he reached out to Easter Seals and asked what he might be able to do. Since then, Judd has hired multiple veterans for his productions. He also served as a mentor to our director Jim Fabio and overall advisor on this PSA.

Hollywood is often accused of being all talk, but the work done on this PSA is another instance that demonstrates just the opposite. Please take a look at the PSA. If you like it, I'd encourage you to share it on your social media sites. Bzzz!