ABC’s ‘Home for the Holidays’ to Give Voice to U.S. Veterans

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As part of ABC’s annual “Home for the Holidays” campaign, and in support of Disney’s company-wide “Heroes Work Here” initiative, which served as the foundation for a recent Veteran’s hiring event at Walt Disney World featuring a keynote address by First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, ABC will honor our military veterans with several new elements this year by premiering five short films written, directed, and produced by U.S. Veterans highlighting the creative work from our military servicemen and women.

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Disney’s ‘Heroes Work Here’ Commits to Hiring Military Veterans (Video)

Disney's 'Heroes Work Here' CampaignToday at the 2012 annual shareholder’s meeting in Kansas City, MO, Disney CEO and President Robert Iger announced a new program designed to support America’s military called ‘Heroes Work Here.’ The ‘Heroes Work Here’ initiative intends to employee and train 1,000 United States military veterans at positions across The Walt Disney Company.

Beginning soon, the company will begin promoting the new campaign in unscripted advertisements that feature veterans employed by the company which Iger hopes will inspire other companies to do the same to support the military and their families. The campaign will air on Disney owned networks such as ABC, ESPN and other media platforms.

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Photo: Double-Amputee Veteran Matias Ferreira Finishes Walt Disney World Half Marathon

David Cordani and LCpl Matias Ferreira (right) (Photo: Business Wire)Pictured here are Cigna CEO David Cordani and Lance Corporal Matias Ferreira as they show the medals they won earlier today by completing the half marathon together at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which is sponsored by Cigna.

Ferreira, 22, originally from Atlanta and now living in Rockville, Maryland, is a U.S. Marine who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. Cordani served as a running guide to Ferreira, who is a member of the Achilles International Freedom Team. Achilles is an organization that helps people with disabilities, including wounded U.S. Armed Forces veterans, compete in mainstream athletic events. Cigna sponsored several members of the Achilles team at today’s half marathon.

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Photos: Marine and Family Honored by Disneyland Resort at “it’s a small world” Lighting

On Monday, the Disneyland Resort invited Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Poteat, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s S-6 communication platoon, and his family to “flip the switch” on more than 300,000 holiday lights blanketing “it’s a small world” Holiday, transforming the popular attraction into a visual wonderland and officially launching the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort. The ceremony, presented by the attraction’s sponsor, Sylvania, honored Poteat and his family for the contributions they have made to our country. Poteat, who U.S. Marines Gunnery Sgt. Derrick Poteat and family at Disneyland "it's a small world" lighting (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland)enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1996, has completed three tours and recently returned from the latest, a seven-month deployment in the Middle East. He was joined by his three children, nephew, niece and wife, Clarice, an advisor to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s family readiness team, for a day of play at the Disneyland Resort followed by this special honor.

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Walt Disney World Cast Members Pen Postcards for Troops

Disney VoluntEARS write postcards to the troopsWhile the nation takes time this Veterans Day to honor those who have served in the armed forces, Disney VoluntEARS have been busy sending their regards through Operation Uplift.

Operation Uplift was founded in 1995 by a Disneyland Cast Member after reading a letter from a soldier during Operation Desert Storm explaining that troops didn’t receive much mail.

Since that time, Disney VoluntEARS around the country have sent more than 90,000 postcards of support, encouragement and thanks to servicemen and servicewomen serving domestically and overseas.

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Disney Channel to Premiere Interstitals Aimed at Military Families on Veterans Day

DOUG BROCHU, FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA, CHINA ANNE MCCLAIN, CHRIS BROCHU (DISNEY CHANNEL/FRED WATKINS)Disney Channel will debut a series of interstitial messages featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and popular young Disney stars China Anne McClain (“A.N.T. Farm”), Adam Irigoyen (“Shake It Up”), Doug Brochu (“So Random!”) and Chris Brochu (“Lemonade Mouth”) talking about their personal experiences with family members serving in the Armed Forces. The messages, debuting on Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 11, are designed to recognize America’s military kids and are part of Disney’s ongoing support of the White House’s Joining Forces national initiative.

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Photo: Air Force Reserve Recruits Sworn in at Disneyland Resort

Photo courtesy Disneyland ResortDisneyland Resort today hosted a swearing-in ceremony for 11 new Air Force Reserve recruits from March Air Reserve Base in Moreno Valley, California. The event was held at Condor Flats inside Disney California Adventure park, an area dedicated to the rich history of California aviation. The new recruits experienced Soarin’ Over California following their military oath, an attraction taking them on a breathtaking aerial tour over some of California’s most extraordinary landmarks.

Photo courtesy Disneyland Resort

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‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ to Help Homeless Female Military Veterans

Earlier today, July 14, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Fayetteville, North Carolina to surprise a family with the door knock that can change lives. The paratrooper team from the U.S. Army and service men joined “EM: HE” host Ty Pennington and the gang to surprise the Marshall family at The Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House. Barbara Marshall, a 15-year Navy Veteran, is fighting to end homelessness among her fellow female veterans. Barbara became passionately committed to her cause when she noticed that so many of our troops were living on the streets after risking their lives to protect their fellow Americans. Instead of just complaining about the situation, this formidable, no-nonsense woman decided to take action and established The Steps-N-Stages Jubilee House, using her own money.

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Photos: Disneyland Salutes Medal of Honor Recipient Salvatore Giunta

Staff Sgts. Erick Gallardo and Salvatore Giunta

An institution at the Disneyland Resort, the lowering of the U.S. flag takes place each evening in the Town Square of Disneyland. Unlike its sister ceremony at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom, however, the ceremony rarely honors individuals who have performed service in the country’s military.

Yesterday evening, that rare and distinct honor went to U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta who was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest service award possible to a member of the United States military, by President Barack Obama.

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Walt Disney World Marathon to Host Companion Race for U.S. Military in Iraq

More than 300 U.S. military personnel in Iraq will take part in a Disney half-marathon in Baghdad during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by CIGNA, which will feature more than 53,000 runners at Walt Disney World in suburban Orlando this weekend. Last year, the WDW Marathon and Half Marathon became the largest M/h combo all-time with 34,055 finishers.

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