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U.S. VETERANS CHOICE COMEDY AWARDS
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U.S. Veterans Choice Comedy Awards - (First Event)
It has been said that laughter is the best form of medicine and that mantra was put to the test and passed with flying colors at the first annual U.S. Veterans Choice Comedy Awards, which were held Saturday, April 30 at the Hollywood American Legion Post 43.
As hearty laughs echoed throughout the building, hundreds of veterans, families and friends gathered to honor brave soldiers who gave so much to keep our country safe. The night was kicked off by our veteran host MG Alfred Valenzuela (ret.) as an incredible rendition of the National Anthem by C.J. Emmons soon followed. Then the night took off with a blast as celebrity co-host Paul Rodriguez delivered a no holds barred standup set that rocked the crowd. He literally had people jumping out of their seats. What was supposed to be a four-minute introduction became a 20-minute opening that set the pace for the night. There just is no stopping a comedic genius when the juices are flowing. The night sizzled even more when hostess Kiki Melendez delivered her awesome comedy routine, which was soon followed by the night’s first comedian Tony Vinh who kept the crowd in hysterics. The audience must have been exhausted by the end of the night.
We had seven other comedians participating in our awards show, including Mike Marino, Katie Robinson, Will C., Sandy Brown, Anthony Torino, Tony Vinh and our two comedy award winners, Erik Knowles and Bobby Henline, plus countless other celebrities and comedian guests. The Roy P. Benavidez Award for Valor was awarded by Jerry Mathers and the daughter of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Roy P. Benavidez, Yvette Benavidez Garcia and General Valenzuela to a true hero Bobby Henline who was thrilled and surprised as he had no idea he was getting this award.
We want to thank all the celebrities who donated their time for this incredible cause, including Dick Van Dyke, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Jerry Mathers; Edward James Olmos; Hillary Hickam; Charley Koontz; Darius Cottrell; Joe Torry; Wiley Edwards; C.J. Emmons; Frenchy Made; Ashlee Marie and the many other celebrities who visited our red carpet and were interviewed by beautiful red carpet hostess Kamisha Lauture.
We also want to thank our veteran guests who donated their time to participate in our award show and help our mission. Thank you WWII veterans Anderson "Andy" Pollard; Timothy J. Shaner; Jesse Acosta’ Patricia Hall; Larry Pitkin, Erick Castro; and Milo Staley. Our Sponsors this year deserve a huge thank you, Coca-Cola, Belmont Village Senior Living Hollywood, UFC Gym, MSLA, TAV, Premier Chrysler Jeep, Glendale Harley-Davidson and Hollywood Park Casino.
It was a historic night and if you were not there you can watch the broadcast in June. We will also make it available for download for free so the entire world can watch an amazing evening that came together nicely with the help of many behind the scenes. A big, heartfelt thank you to Jon Anthony Vasquez, Julia Mora, Silawn Lewis, Siri Borgen, Kris Black, Karl Risinger, Mike and Loraine Caro, James A. Cartwright III, Jose Martinez, Pete Ybarra, Robert Ybarra, Julio Ascencio, Anthony Rivera, Jonathan Betton, Beto Teapi, Andre’ Andrews, Judge Becton III, Brito, Evelyn Cruz, Claudia Chiu, Ludiviana Landa, Cue Elijah Denicki, Charlitte Plummer, Tiffany Woo, Melissa Borgmeyer, Lugdy Cuevea, Sheena House, Levysten Lockett, Paul Margraf, Wayne Sampson, and Ashtar Shamoun. We look forward to doing it again next year.