Magazine article The New American

Welcoming Veterans

Magazine article The New American

Welcoming Veterans

Article excerpt

Annie Nelson, a Minnesota native who grew up in Southern California, has worked as a sports broadcaster, a flight attendant, and a special-events coordinator, but when she became aware of the plight of many soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, she found her true calling in life.

It all began a few years ago, when Annie started writing to a Marine pen pal named Jesse Schertz in the Iraq war zone. Annie lost contact with Jesse and then learned that he had been badly burned in combat and had been hospitalized. When he regained consciousness, he started asking for his pen pal. Annie went to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to visit with Jesse and his family. She said she met "amazing people down at Brooke and just really got to know our troops."

Annie's involvement with the wounded troops at Brooke led her to get involved in creating a television network special called Welcome Home. The show featured celebrity entertainers and athletes such as Jon Bon Jovi, Toby Keith, John Daly, Michael Bolton, and San Jose Sharks forward and NHL All-Star Jeremy Roenick.

Annie's involvement goes beyond producing a few television specials, however. She is constantly visiting with and helping those who serve, including those recuperating in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the Marine Recruits at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. She has helped the Bob Hope LAX USO, spent time with the special operations teams, supported the widows of the soldiers killed in action, visited the wounded at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, and has visited the homes of the combat wounded. …

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