By Misty Schwartz on
LookToTheStars.org recently talked to Hollywood producer/director Suzanne DeLaurentiis about the causes and charities she supports.
Suzanne DeLaurentiis recently returned to Oregon to show her continued support for the Oregon National Guard and the Reintegration Team. This isn’t a glamorous, high profile event by any stretch of the imagination; people like Suzanne do this because it holds a special place in their hearts, as well it should. Suzanne was presented for the second time with the Oregon Commendation Plaque, a true honor, and one that she doesn’t take lightly. Her mission is to make sure the Vets know how much they are appreciated for protecting our country and make sure they all are able to find jobs upon their return home.
What most people don’t realize is that our Veteran’s return from horrors that most of us don’t even want to imagine and are then put in a position where they have to put their lives back together. These are men and women who put their lives on the line every day that they are in the service, and when they come home, they can’t even get a job.
When Suzanne first heard about the Oregon National Guard and the Reintegration Team, spearheaded by Master Sgt. Vinnie Jaques, she knew that she had to get involved, and she has been ever since. She’s hosted numerous charity events for the Organization, adds messages promoting the Military at the end of every film, and is constantly reaching out to her Hollywood colleagues both for donations and to spread the word about the lives our Veterans are coming back to.
If you walk into the typical Producer’s office in Hollywood, the first thing you’re most likely to see are recent posters of movies that they’ve made or an award from the industry. The first thing you see when you walk into Suzanne’s office is her accommodation medal from the Oregon National Guard. “I make movies, and the men and women of our military make it possible for me to do what I do for a living. In the grand scheme of things, I think it’s obvious which one of us has the most harder job.”
On Saturday March 10, Suzanne went out in less than stellar weather conditions to the tarmac to see Captain Tyler Eikenberry, commander of 7-158 Aviation, to see him off on his mission to Afghanistan. Watching him board the Blackhawk Helicopter was a particularly moving event for Ms. DeLaurentiis. “I can never quite comprehend the selflessness of our soldiers. It’s something you never get used to.”
Lt. Col. John Middaugh, the new commander of the 1249th Engineers, said, “Her presence here was great! She made a lot of effort to come here and that was something special—besides the financial support, I think the symbolic gesture was great too; what she did was very clear to the troops and they sincerely appreciated it.” Yes, the financial support is much needed, but so is something that money can’t buy: a shoulder to cry on or somebody who is just willing to listen. More than anything, that’s what this trip was about – Ms. DeLaurentiis just being there for the troops in whatever capacity they needed. If they wanted to talk about their fears about combat, Suzanne listened. If they wanted to talk about coming home and trying to readjust, Suzanne offered advice. If they just wanted that shoulder to cry on, she was that too.
Suzanne agreed to answer a few questions from Look To The Stars about her charity work:
Why did you choose to support the charities you work with?
I support many different charities, but our Veterans have been very close to my heart. Our brave Service Men and Women are shipped off to foreign Countries not knowing if they are going to make it back, and if they do come home, they deserve our full support. So many of them find it difficult to find employment and sometimes even the basic needs of survival are hard to come by. This just isn’t acceptable in our Country.
How long have you supported them?
I have been a supporter of our Veterans through different charities for the past ten years.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the other causes that you support other than Vets?
I also support the American Cancer Society, the Lucas Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Multicultural Assoc. and the Boggey Creek Gang.
What is the most annoying thing about people that don’t help charities and why?
I believe that everyone should give back, and if you are not in a position to give back financially, there are so many other ways. Every charity that I have ever been involved with needs volunteers, and something that all of us can find in our lives is time. It’s all relative, but on some level, there is no reason why anybody cannot help a charity in some way.
And how important do you think it is for celebrities to get involved in charity?
It’s extremely important for celebrities to support charities whenever they can – most of them are in a situation where they can make a huge difference both financially and by associating themselves with a charity. We are fortunate to be in the industry that we are in, and nobody should take it for granted.
What plans do you have to make an impact on society this year?
I would like to start my own charity called “The Hollywood Connection” which will help employ returning American soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan in various positions on movie sets. Being a Producer, I am in a position where I can always use help on set, and what better way to pay back our Veterans than by employing them? Our Men and Women who return from war zones are proud people who want to work, and this is a win/win situation for all of us!
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