I love researching for this blog. I come across the coolest stuff, all of it done by or for veterans. One of the things that continues to surprise me, though it really shouldn’t, is how much vets are doing to help other vets. And they aren’t just saying “What can I do to help?” Instead, they are creating platforms that are designed to help connect and promote other veterans, to help them succeed. Veteran Empire is an excellent example of this.
Veteran Empire was founded by two former Marines, the idea for which was born while they served Embassy duty together. Feeling that the military regimentation stifled their creativity, they wanted to create their, and I quote, “own fucking program” or OFP. They wanted a place where the “subculture” of veterans, particularly creative ones, could flourish without restrictions.
To that end, Veteran Empire’s mission is to portray veterans in a “new vibrant, positive light” by promoting creative veterans, including photographers, rappers, actors, models, writers. They do this primarily through a series of podcasts done by Tim “Lawdawg” Lawson, a Marine veteran and cancer survivor. These podcasts, which generally last about 45-60 minutes, consist of “Lawdawg” interviewing the veteran in a very informal, raw fashion on everything from how and why they joined the military to why they left and what they are doing now. Recent interviewees have included RSonic, also known as The Marine Rapper, who recently put out an album of military inspired songs, and Christopher Van Etten, a former Marine, OEF and OIF veteran, and double amputee who is, along with fellow Marine veteran Alex Minsky, using modeling to redefine America’s image of a Wounded Warrior.
In addition to the podcasts, which introduce you to an interesting group of veterans who are making a name for themselves with their creative endeavors, Veteran Empire also has a line of goods you can purchase, including shirts, water bottles, and patches bearing innovative, military inspired (but not exactly politically correct) designs.
I’ve discovered some very interesting and inspiring characters on this site, individuals who served their country and are now finding their creative way into another phase of their lives. I hope you’ll discover them, too. You can check them out at: www.veteranempire.com
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