It has been said that laughter is the best form of medicine and that mantra was put to the test and passed with flying colors at the first annual U.S. Veterans Choice Comedy Awards, which were held Saturday, April 30 at the Hollywood American Legion Post 43.
As hearty laughs echoed throughout the building, hundreds of veterans, families and friends gathered to honor brave soldiers who gave so much to keep our country safe. The night was kicked off by our veteran host MG Alfred Valenzuela (ret.) as an incredible rendition of the National Anthem by C.J. Emmons soon followed. Then the night took off with a blast as celebrity co-host Paul Rodriguez delivered a no holds barred standup set that rocked the crowd. He literally had people jumping out of their seats. What was supposed to be a four-minute introduction became a 20-minute opening that set the pace for the night. There just is no stopping a comedic genius when the juices are flowing. The night sizzled even more when hostess Kiki Melendez delivered her awesome comedy routine, which was soon followed by the night’s first comedian Tony Vinh who kept the crowd in hysterics. The audience must have been exhausted by the end of the night.
We had seven other comedians participating in our awards show, including Mike Marino, Katie Robinson, Will C., Sandy Brown, Anthony Torino, Tony Vinh and our two comedy award winners, Erik Knowles and Bobby Henline, plus countless other celebrities and comedian guests. The Roy P. Benavidez Award for Valor was awarded by Jerry Mathers and the daughter of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Roy P. Benavidez, Yvette Benavidez Garcia and General Valenzuela to a true hero Bobby Henline who was thrilled and surprised as he had no idea he was getting this award.
We want to thank all the celebrities who donated their time for this incredible cause, including Dick Van Dyke, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Jerry Mathers; Edward James Olmos; Hillary Hickam; Charley Koontz; Darius Cottrell; Joe Torry; Wiley Edwards; C.J. Emmons; Frenchy Made; Ashlee Marie and the many other celebrities who visited our red carpet and were interviewed by beautiful red carpet hostess Kamisha Lauture.
We also want to thank our veteran guests who donated their time to participate in our award show and help our mission. Thank you Anderson Pollard; Timothy J. Shaner; Jesse Acosta’ Patricia Hall; Larry Pitkin, Erick Castro; and Milo Staley. Our Sponsors this year deserve a huge thank you, Coca-Cola, Belmont Village Senior Living Hollywood, UFC Gym, MSLA, TAV, Premier Chrysler Jeep, Glendale Harley-Davidson and Hollywood Park Casino.
It was a historic night and if you were not there you can watch the broadcast in June. We will also make it available for download for free so the entire world can watch an amazing evening that came together nicely with the help of many behind the scenes. A big, heartfelt thank you to Jon Anthony Vasquez, Julia Mora, Silawn Lewis, Siri Borgen, Kris Black, Karl Risinger, Mike and Loraine Caro, James A. Cartwright III, Jose Martinez, Pete Ybarra, Robert Ybarra, Julio Ascencio, Anthony Rivera, Jonathan Betton, Beto Teapi, Andre’ Andrews, Judge Becton III, Brito, Evelyn Cruz, Claudia Chiu, Ludiviana Landa, Cue Elijah Denicki, Charlitte Plummer, Tiffany Woo, Melissa Borgmeyer, Lugdy Cuevea, Sheena House, Levysten Lockett, Paul Margraf, Wayne Sampson, and Ashtar Shamoun. We look forward to doing it again next year.
By: Alfred Perez
Executive Producer/Director/Graphic Artist - U.S. Veterans Choice Comedy Awards
THIS IS HOW WE SPENT OUR JULY 4TH WEEKEND DELIVERIES TO VETERANS LIVING IN SKID ROW (ABOVE), ALWAYS WITH A SMILE!
ASSISTING OUR HOMELESS VETERANS
AND TRANSITIONAL HOUSING VISITS
The photo above was taken early in the morning on Monday, June 6 at our donated warehouse in West Covina. We like having it nicely stocked with some great non-perishable items donated to us by many great people and organizations. That day we made 20 care packages and loaded four boxes with some great stuff for our transitional housing visits.
As you can see from the picture, there are four boxes in the rear of our delivery van. These are full of perishable items that we purchased at a local food bank and right behind those four boxes are another four boxes fully loaded for the same four veterans living in a motel in the heart of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. They are using temporary housing vouchers and can use food so they can cook a good meal. We make sure to deliver eggs, hams, bacon, chicken, bread, vegetables, fruit, cakes and plenty of pasta and pasta sauce. We also included four 20-pound bags of rice as well.
When we visit Skid Row we make sure to help the homeless there too and we delivered another 20 fully loaded care-packages. We include canned items, like ready-made meals, canned fruit, cereal, toiletries, cookies, soups and other goodies. I was trying to hand a homeless lady two bags and they were so heavy she could only take one. So that is how we work. Many times we forget to take pictures because our mission is beyond that. We count our work by the tonnage and the smiles the veterans give, is reward enough for us!
Our first deliveries this week were for some hungry homeless veterans who visit the Welcome Center at West Los Angeles Veterans complex across from WLA VA hospital. Homeless veterans can come 24 hours a day for assistance and they will get a room and a care package with food and clothing.
We are always looking for food donations and we also need funds for perishable items, gas and repairs to our delivery vehicle that has hauled so many tons of food and keeps on trucking on its mission.
Please don’t forget to watch an amazing show produced as our yearly fundraiser, U.S. Veterans Choice Comedy Awards, which will air on Charter Cable channel 181 on Sunday, on prime-time from 7PM to 10PM. Tell a friend. It will also be available for download for everyone’s enjoyment on the same day, check back here for more information. This was a night of laughter honoring our veterans and it was amazing; people were jumping out of their seats in laughter!
CLOTHING, BOOKS AND CARE PACKAGES TO LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA VETERANS WHO CAN USE A HELPING HAND
DELIVERIES ABOVE - ALSO A TRUCKLOAD OF COOL STUFF TO HUNGRY VETERANS IN YUMA, ARIZONA
OUR LABOR FORCE ABOVE - MAKING DELIVERIES DURING APRIL SHOWERS - 100 BOXES OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES DONATED FOR OUR HUNGRY VETS BY OPTOMETRIST, DR. JAMIE ESTRADA, THANKS!
SAN DIEGO HARD AT WORK ABOVE - WE COULD USE YOUR HELP!
DELIVERIES ABOVE ARE FROM MARCH AND APRIL 2016 DELIVERED WITH A SMILE - THANKS TO MANY
WEST LOS ANGELES WELCOME CENTER FOR VETERANS ABOVE
LONG BEACH VA PIER CENTER DELIVERY ABOVE
EL MONTE VETERANS VILLAGES - TRANSITIONAL HOUSING ABOVE
OUR FIRST LOAD GOING TO YUMA, ARIZONA FOR SOME HUNGRY VETERANS STAYING AT A HOME RUN BY WILLIAM AND ESPERANZA
SAN DIEGO HARD AT WORK MAKING DELIVERIES WITH A SMILE
MANY TIMES WE FORGET TO TAKE PICTURES - OUR VETS ARE THE STORY AND WE ENJOY OUR MISSION WITH NO BOUNDARIES