Easterseals recently shared its mission of serving veterans and their families with Hollywood. As the featured charity at Variety’s Emmy Studio, a gathering of this year’s leading television actors and actresses and Emmy nominees, we discussed ways Hollywood can support veterans, too.
The celebrities we’ve met saw veterans’ issues as something they could support —and they voiced their approval and thanks in a special video message:
Military, veterans, their families and families of the fallen who come to Easterseals for support face unique challenges — challenges they don't have to face alone. Show your support and appreciation for our military and their families' sacrifice and courage by adding your message of encouragement to our Welcome Home Wall below.
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On May 29th and 30th, Marine Cpl. and Easterseals employee Mervin Roxas had the pleasure of representing Easterseals at the Variety Emmy Studio in West Hollywood to talk about Easterseals' mission of serving veterans and their families. Many of the celebrities Mervin had the pleasure of meeting showed great interest in Easterseals and applauded our efforts.
Mervin is a Program Assistant at Easter Seals Southern California where he also works as a Life Skills Coach. He was fortunate to spend time with T.V.'s top talent and he wishes them luck in the Emmy's!
Read Mervin's story below, and learn more about Easterseals Military and Veterans Services.
On July 5, 2004, during his second deployment in Iraq, Marine Cpl. Mervin Roxas was manning a machine gun atop a patrol vehicle when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded.
Three Marines died. Mervin, more fortunate, lost his left arm and shoulder, and his jaw and cheekbone were shattered. He spent 11 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before being medically discharged — but his return home brought new challenges.
"I had trouble transitioning back to being a civilian,” he says. “I lost structure in my life, I didn't know how each day would play out, and my behavior caused misunderstandings with family and friends."
There was also the challenge of suddenly living with a disability.
"Learning to do things with only my right arm and getting stares and comments from strangers -- I wasn't used to it. That was tough."
Forced to abandon dreams of becoming a police officer, Mervin enrolled in some college courses. One day on campus, he stumbled on a job fair where Easterseals had a booth. By that evening, he had faxed his resume to Easterseals and soon after, he was hired as a Life Skills Coach -- teaching life skills to adults with developmental disabilities.
Finding a job spurred Mervin to keep moving forward. He has since run a marathon, earned his college degree and gotten married, plus he's been promoted to an Easterseals Program Assistant.
Mervin credits Easterseals with helping him successfully reintegrate. "Easterseals," he says, "played a big part."