While I was waiting for my flight from Austin to Orlando, I had the opportunity to meet a few people at the Gate while we waited for our flight. I met a gentleman by the name of Joseph Harrell and identified him as a serviceman. Besides the way he appeared and the shirt he had on (Marines t-shirt he had on) it made it easy for me to identify him as a Marine. I asked him if he was still in the service. I quickly connected with Josephe since I am an ex-service member. In the Army had the opportunity to work along with the Marines.
While I was in El Salvador serving as a translator I was assigned to a Marine Combat Engineer unit that was creating a Medical Facility for a remote town in el Salvador. Working alongside the Marines I had the opportunity to understand and admire the discipline and pride they display of being proud Marines.
Joseph is an Ex-Drill Instructor for the Marines and is currently working on his acting career while serving as a consultant from a military perspective for some films.
Joseph was at SXSW for the Film part of the event working on the Movie, Happy New Year , directed and screenplay by K. Lorrel Manning with Michael Cuomo as lead actor and producer. Joseph not only served as a military consultant he is a also a producer and plays “Joe Wallace” a widower who seeks closure from his deceased wife’s platoon sergeant. Get a preview of Joe and his character:
In my conversation with Joseph while waiting on our flight I was able to see the value of how this film is creating awareness of PTSD.
Being an ex-service member with many close friends and family members that returned with hidden scars, compelled me to write about the Happy New Year movie even though I have not seen it.
My best friend from childhood is an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who at one moment was too proud to admit he suffers from PTSD. His vehicle was hit by an RPG and along with other action he saw as a Combat Engineer and Sapper for the U.S. Army, still affects his daily life. He is still in the service and has many stories to share but I see how the military does not really take care of those soldiers that have battle wounds that are hard for us to see.
Given the large presence of Puerto Rican’s in the service, I was very happy to see Wilmer Calderon an actor from Santurce, Puerto Rico as part of the movie, representing the face of the many Puerto Rican’s that have served in all US Military Branches. As a Colony of the United States, we have a good presence in the military, eventhough as residents we have no representation in congress or vote for president. I have always heard rumors on how Puerto Rico has larger amount of service members per capita vs. other U.S. territories and states.
Do you know anyone who is suffering from PTSD?
Would they be interested in creating awareness of the subject and supporting a film like this one?
Happy New Year Reviews
- The lonely road back from war
- SXSW World Premiere and Vets Screening With Elvis
- Happy New Year Austin Chronicle