NRA Convention – May 14-17, 2009

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Print & Web

Wow! This month was the annual NRA Convention, and let me tell you, people came out in record-breaking numbers! I have been to a lot of events over the years, but this was one of the most fun and interesting I’ve seen!

I think people get a certain perception that is perhaps unfair, when they hear about the NRA, but I can tell you from my personal first-hand experience, it was first class all the way. Of the thousands of people that were there, I did not meet one person whom I didn’t thoroughly enjoy and respect. I had the pleasure of sharing so many stories, and yes, many tears, with veterans from World War II, Vietnam, Korea and Desert Storm. I also talked with so many active duty troops who have either just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, or are getting ready to ship out again.

Above all, I learned so much about military history and life, and I must say I got quite an education on the 2nd Amendment. It was somewhat eye-opening. Regardless of where one stands politically, the issues we face as a country deserve fair and respectful debate, and I enjoyed learning from each person I met.

The highlight for me was attending the Saturday night banquet, where I sat front and center in an audience of at least 3,000 people or more, and listened to the most incredible speeches from Lt. Col Oliver North and John Stossel from ABC News. If you have never heard these men speak before, do yourself a favor and read their books – they have so much credibility and knowledge worth considering.

In addition, it was Armed Forces Day, and how moving it was to see the entire audience put their hands over their hearts as the military personnel stood right next to me with the flags, while the National Anthem was performed by a wonderful singer. Tears rolled down my face, and all I could think is that I am so blessed to be an American and live in a country that values freedom and democracy!

On a lighter note, I sold and autographed a ton of my calendars, allowing me to donate $2000 directly to the charity I’m supporting (New England Warrior), and those dollars will immediately go to support the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. It feels wonderful to know that every person who supported me at the show is truly helping the children of military families, particularly those who have had a parent killed in action.

The outpouring of gratitude and respect I got from the executives from the NRA, the veterans, the active duty personnel, the families, and of course my loyal Dillon fans, was just so inspirational and touching for me! I am deeply humbled by how gracious people were to me. And I must say a special thanks to Tom and Patsy, who are arguably my most enthusiastic #1 fans!

Thank you also to Dillon Precision, for inviting me to attend the show with them, I couldn’t have asked for a better result! In fact, I am now in talks to go to Iraq on a USO tour, as well as I’ve been invited to be a featured guest at many other events across the country to speak about my calendar project and my experience with the troops, so stay tuned for lots more news stories this year!

Marine South Expo – April 22-23, 2009

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Print & Web

It’s good to be an American! And never have I felt that more than this past month when I attended the Marine South Expo at the Camp LeJeune Marine Base in North Carolina.

For the last five years, I’ve had the honor of working with and getting to know many service men and women and their families in the U.S. and overseas. When I produced my calendar to honor these heroes, I had no idea where the journey would lead. 

Well, it took me straight to Camp LeJeune, and what fun it was! I met and shared stories with so many veteran and active-duty marines and their families, and even encountered some two, three and four star generals! All were gracious and sincere, and it was not only humbling to see the gratitude for the calendar, but it was educational, as I learned so many things about being in the military and why this show of support is so important. It is amazing how much there is to learn, but this is part of what makes this experience so rewarding and interesting!

I’ve included a few shots of me and some of these heroes as I signed calendars and posed for pictures.  One exhibitor even had an exotic animal trainer and educator doing a show, which is why I am posing with a real alligator (yes that is real!)  It was so much fun, although my enthusiasm took a hit when I received a speeding ticket from a state trooper who was not in a very good mood, and what’s worse is my mom had come along for the road trip! lol…

New host demo reel!

May 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

After years in the making, finally my new hosting reel is complete! Check out all the fun interviews, celebrities and stories that I had a chance to cover over the last few years…there is nothing more rewarding than engaging different personalities and finding out their unique stories and opinions, not to mention who has a sense of humor, and who doesn’t…