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For Immediate Release

– Veterans Day 2013 – Easter Seals Launches PSA Campaign to Honor Veterans and Direct Them to Easter Seals Services

Written, Produced and Directed by a Post 9/11 Veteran, with All-Star Veteran Cast And Crew, Spots Use Light Humor to Challenge the Public’s Perceptions of Returning Veterans

Chicago, November 11, 2013

Media Contact:
Kristen Barnfield

Easter Seals, a leading disability services organization, launches a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that use light humor to reinforce subtle, but positive, attributes of returning veterans and offer Easter Seals services for those who need support in transitioning back to civilian life.  

The spots also challenge the public’s perception of returning veterans. There is strong awareness among Americans about the challenges that some service members face when they come home after experiencing war-trauma.
All too often, by focusing on challenges, people lose sight of veteran strengths like being highly disciplined and skilled. For instance, 25 percent of our returning service members have college degrees, compared with 18 percent in the general population. Easter Seals believes returning veterans make valuable, long-lasting contributions to our community and, with these PSAs, encourages the American public to gain a new appreciation for the value of veterans in the workforce and society as a whole.

Veteran and actor Jose Sarduy
proudly displays his years of service

The PSAs were written, produced and directed by Kyle Hausmann-Stokes, a US Army combat veteran who served in Iraq and now owns Blue Three Productions, an entertainment production company based in Los Angeles. The majority of the cast and crew are veterans, who are building their careers in the entertainment industry.  

“Easter Seals has been providing direct services to vets and their families for decades. They help with the transition from military service to civilian life and I want to work with people who are making that a priority,” said Hausmann-Stokes.

“The fact that Easter Seals enlisted the participation of veterans, like myself, to deliver a relevant message, means they get it … and they get us,” Hausmann-Stokes added. “I’ve produced many PSAs aimed at veterans, but never one that uses humor and nuances from our military training like time management, efficiency and discipline to play to our strengths and employability. I’m confident my fellow vets are going to appreciate this type of depiction of their attributes.”

Actors in the series include Jose Sarduy (Air Force, ‘95-present), Chloe Mondesir (Marines, ’04-’08), Harvey Johnson (Army, ’84-’94), Y’Danna Daniels (Army National Guard), John Willamette (Army, ’02-’10), Nadja Hoyer-Booth (Army), Ruty Rutenberg (Army ’02-‘08), Yohan Ko (Army, ’06-’12), and Phyllis Politowicz (Marines, ’53-’54). Production crew that are veterans, as well, include Mike Moriatis (Navy, ’89-‘08), Michael Rha (Army, ’85-‘88), Jennifer Crandell (Marines, ’05-‘10), Francisco Guzman (Marines, ’03-‘11), Anh Nguyen (Marines, ’98-‘06 ), and Charles Avritt (Air Force, ’88-’92).

The cast and crew were recruited through Veterans in Film & Television (VFT), a new, 1,500+ member group of veterans working in all aspects of the entertainment industry. Earlier this year, Easter Seals and VFT announced a partnership to provide valuable networking tools to support veterans who are seeking meaningful careers in entertainment.    

Only Told Half of the Story
Last year, Easter Seals renewed its commitment to its Military & Veterans Initiative— a focus area of the organization that provides individualized support to returning veterans and their families as they re-enter civilian life. Easter Seals provides direct services and assistance in a variety of areas such as work force development, job placement, family counseling, housing and access to healthcare and wellness programs.

“Many public service messages either salute veterans as heroes or focus on the “issues” and negative stereotypes some may face,” said James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. “As a nation, we’ve only told half the story.”

“Easter Seals wants to further the national conversation, celebrating the unique, successful attributes of so many of our veterans when they return from active duty and remind employers they are among the best and brightest,” Williams adds. 

Additionally, the organization, in partnership with Colonel David W. Sutherland, U.S. Army (Retired), established Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services at Easter Seals. Together they’re strengthening more than 560 communities by building community partnerships, sharing innovations and connecting those who have served to local supports and services provided by Easter Seals and a nationwide network of thousands of organizations, enabling our veterans and their families to thrive where they live.

“The American people know what we are, that we’re veterans and military families, but they may not know us. Our veterans are not victims. They have amazing potential because of their discipline and skills. They have a capacity for greatness,” said Sutherland. “They just need a little community-based assistance during transition and reintegration and they are going to soar. These PSAs will showcase their potential, abilities and character. Traits that made them successful in their service and will propel them into successful lives at home.”

About Easter Seals & Dixon Center
For nearly 100 years, Easter Seals has provided life-changing solutions to the people of our country. From children and adults living with disabilities, to military families looking to serve their communities, Easter Seals is committed to creating a world of inclusion, dignity, empowerment and independence. We personalize solutions for individuals with autism, and intellectual and physical disabilities through innovative therapy, training, education, and support services. 

Recognizing the new and unmet needs of so many returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are also addressing serious gaps in service by mobilizing our national network of community-based services through a partnership with Dixon Center (www.theDixonCenter.org). At Easter Seals, we are equipped to serve thousands of individuals and military families across our 70+ affiliates, 550 nationwide service sites, 27,000 professional staff and 40,000 local volunteers. Find out more at www.easterseals.com.

About CK&D
CK&D is a cause marketing and media group that consults with leading charitable brands and Fortune 500 companies to create socially responsible marketing strategies that elevate your cause or issue to a global stage.  CK&D is helping Easter Seals work closely with the entertainment community to create more positive stories about veteran contributions to the communities in which we live. Learn more at http://ckd-la.com.

Editors Note:

Following is the URL and embed code for "Morning Routine," an Easter Seals PSA that use light humor to reinforce subtle, but positive, attributes of returning veterans and offer Easter Seals services for those who need support in transitioning back to civilian life.  

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRDBo8F9OtY

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