This fall, Rolling Stone paid tribute to our veterans and troops with “Rolling Stone’s Salute to Service,” presented by Philip Morris International. Kicking off on Veteran’s Day, November 11th, the three-part panel series centered around celebrating United States military veterans in all branches of the armed forces, with deep discussions on the progress that has been made across different sectors to support them.
The final panel — a discussion of modern-day veteran support and the current veteran experience in America, as well as personal stories from guests on their involvement in the cause — took place December 1st. Moderated by Rolling Stone Country editor Joseph Hudak, the event included AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly, Margaret Harrell, chief program officer at the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and country music star Trace Adkins, who is the celebrity spokesperson for the Wounded Warriors Project. Adkins, a Grand Ole Opry member since 2003, also performed his song “Still a Soldier.” Watch the video above.
The first panel — hosted by Rolling Stone senior writer Jamil Smith — focused on minority veterans and service members from underrepresented groups and included Donna Brock, a retired Army veteran, who served 35 years and is currently serving as the Treasurer and on the Board of Directors for Army Women’s Foundation; Julz Carey, who retired from the Coast Guard in 1997 and volunteers with several veteran and business organizations; and actress and comedian Lea DeLaria, who many know from her role on Orange Is the New Black, and whose parents met while performing for USO events. Their lively discussion focused on the increasing number of women, minorities, and LGBTQ veterans and their experience, and the mirrored experiences of minority talent and their personal journeys.
The second event — hosted by Rolling Stone digital director Jerry Portwood — focused on veterans and mental health. The group of advocates included retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Ken Falke, founder and chairman of Boulder Crest; Navy veteran Justin Brown, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is the founder and CEO of the Nimitz Group and the Founder of the HillVets Foundation; and country music artist Justin Moore, who reached the top of the charts with his military tribute single, “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home”. The session also included performances by Moore and country musician Michael Ray.