What's the story behind the music video you're filming at the National Infantry Museum on Tuesday?
I originally contacted the museum with the idea of collaborating on a CMT-quality music video for my song "A Link," which I co-wrote with Jon D'Agostino. Jordan Beck from the museum soon replied that they would like to explore the idea more. I met with the several leaders of the National Infantry Museum Foundation, and they gave the green light and explained what
I needed to do to make it happen.
I first had to get approval from the Army Entertainment Division in Los Angeles, which I did. Then I had to get approval from Public Affairs on Fort Benning, which I also did, and they were very helpful in our Fort Benning shoot. Thanks to corporate sponsors in Freedom Home Care and Masterbuilt Outdoor Products and two private donors, the Jeff Klippenes Family in honor of George Klippenes Sr. and the Jon D'Agostino Family in honor of Ignatius D'Agostino, both who served during World War II, I was able to cover the cost of the production. We hired Pope Johnson Productions to produce the video, and they have done an outstanding job so far. We are looking forward to the release on July 4 at the IMAX at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, and we are hoping that CMT and GAC will take interest in the video to promote it once done. Of course, we are hoping it goes viral as well!
The folks at the National Infantry Museum are absolutely terrific, and we have a true national treasure right in our own backyard. You can be a part of our highlighting it in this music video while honoring someone you love as well. Bring a 5x7 or 8x10 framed picture of someone that you would like to honor who is wearing a U.S. military uniform to the Infantry Museum this Tuesday, June 18, at 6 p.m. We would like to film the sidewalk leading to the museum lined with as many people as possible holding that picture up. It's an opportunity to show the world just how proud the Chattahoochee Valley is of our military.
What have you learned from being involved with House of Heroes?
I am a home care physical therapist, and I daily find myself in highly decorated national heroes' homes helping them or their loved ones with some sort of physical impairment. Often these decorated war veterans or their spouses are now finding it hard to do the simple task of changing a light bulb, much less are they able to do home repairs.
When I heard about House of Heroes, I immediately was drawn to how they help veterans with home repairs and how they involve the community and businesses in the projects as well. These people are visionaries who have not forgotten those who have sacrificed so much for us to live in freedom. They are making a difference and every community needs a House of Heroes.
Which memory from your time in the military sticks with you most?
I have so many great memories of my time in the Army, and they all revolve around the people I served with and those I served. From the time I entered as a private to the day I exited 10 years later as an Army Medical Specialist Corps Captain, I worked with the best and most professional people on the planet!
I guess if I picked one specific special memory it would be the day I sang the national anthem in my Army dress blues at my graduation from the U.S. Army Baylor Physical Therapy Program. It was a great day shared with family and friends that put an exclamation point on a long period of very hard work. The sacrifices my wife, Kathy, made to help me accomplish that goal truly were extraordinary, and we were elated that day!
Your religious faith is an element in many of your songs. How do you express that part of your life without appearing too "preachy"?
If you are asking me this question based on listening to my music, you have given me a great compliment and I thank you! Hit songwriter Steve Seskin is my friend and mentor who taught me techniques to write in such a way that I say what I want to say without sounding "preachy." I'll try to leave the preachin' to the preachers, and I will write about things that are important to me: faith, family and country.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
It's not really a secret around here, but I frequently find myself bragging on Columbus when I'm elsewhere about the many large, very successful companies that have started here. I think it's a true testament to the kind of work ethic and commitment to excellence that is part of the fabric of this community. This community is blessed with so many visionaries and business leaders that it really is inspiring. I'm especially grateful to many of them for helping to make Columbus a budding arts community as well.