Accomplishment Spotlight: Crawford and ‘Got Your 6’ Raise Awareness Through Hollywood March 28, 2013Posted by servicecorpsnews in Uncategorized.
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Early last year, actor Tom Hanks appeared on stage at the Academy Awards to accept an award. His appearance was much the same as any other in his long and storied career, save one small exception: a small, six-shaped pin on his lapel. That same pin soon appeared on other celebrities, ranging from late night hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien to comedian Kathy Griffin to Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. Though noticeable, none were sure what the pin was meant to signify.
It was eventually revealed to belong to Got Your 6, a collaborative project designed to raise awareness of the issues facing our returning servicemembers and veterans. Since its launch, Got Your 6 has been among the fastest growing organizations operating in the veteran and military space, and it has attracted an unprecedented amount of Hollywood and media attention, ranging from NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes to personal endorsements from noted actors like Hanks, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bradley Cooper, Michael Douglas and more. Its public service announcements have aired at sporting events across the country, from a San Diego Padres game to the Indy 500.
Dedicated to bridging the cultural divide between America’s military and civilian populations, Got Your 6 began as a 2011 meeting between major Hollywood studios, networks, talent agencies and entertainment guilds. The meeting – convened by ServiceNation, an organization dedicated creating an ethic of civic responsibility across America – led to a year-long discussion that eventually culminated in the launch of Got Your 6 in May 2012.
Got Your 6, which also seeks to set veterans on the path to civilian success, focuses on six principal topics, or “pillars”: Jobs, Education, Housing, Health, Family, and Leadership. Each pillar is represented by an “activation partner,” who organizes and manages activities relating to the specific topic. Jobs, for example, is represented by the Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program, while Health is represented by Give an Hour, and Leadership by The Mission Continues – the latter two of whom are also members of the Call to Service Corps Consortium.
Ian Crawford, an AmeriCorps VISTA working with ServiceNation through the ALA Call to Service Corps, has been instrumental to Got Your 6’s rapid expansion and growth. His duties involve tending to the needs of the program – responding to general inquiries, handling partnerships, organizing service projects, and writing copy for the Got Your 6 newsletter. Crawford has also raised money for the organization and represented Got Your 6 in the news and in other media.
One event Crawford engineered took place last September in commemoration of 9/11. With the assistance of partners such as the Regal Entertainment Group and Fox45 Baltimore, Crawford was able to dramatically raise awareness of Got Your 6 through a publicity event at the opening of a movie theater in Gambrills, Maryland. Tables were set up at the theater entrance and staffed by Got Your 6 volunteers, who informed interested moviegoers about the initiative. Fox45 reporters were also on-hand to interview Crawford and Got Your 6 staff for the network’s Morning News program. At the conclusion of the event, the Regal Entertainment Group donated the day’s ticket proceeds to Got Your 6 and its affiliate organizations – a total of more than $8,000.
“I’m proud of the fact that there really are no ordinary days,” Crawford says, describing his activities. “That’s part of the beauty of it.”
Crawford, a former radio broadcaster with an NPR affiliate in Austin, Texas, was motivated to join the ALA Call to Service Corps by an interview he conducted with journalist Joe Klein, whose article “The New Greatest Generation” was published as a Time cover story in 2011.
“It really rocked me back on my heels,” says Crawford. “[Veterans] aren’t broken. They want to do well; they want to continue to give back their country. I saw the ServiceNation position, and applied. …It’s been a rich, full experience.”
Ian Crawford recently completed his term of service and has accepted employment with ServiceNation and Got Your 6.