The Arts

Those selected in this category have been successful in the art and entertainment sectors. From producing and directing movies that portray the lives of veterans and military service members, to developing programs that allow veterans to enhance their skills and talents, these individuals have pushed the envelope in the industry and have made headway for up and coming veteran artists, actors and entertainers.

Jack Kennedy, Actor & Writer

Jack Kennedy is an actor and writer with Black Monday Productions and is proud to have come to acting by way of being a West Point graduate and Army Officer. Jack worked with Martin Short and Jason Alexander on stage, with Sir Ben Kingsley on film, Forrest Whitaker on TV, and once made Chuck Woolery laugh as Bachelor #2 on The Dating Game. But the thing he is most proud of is bearing the whips and scorns of Hollywood, surviving a nearly three-year layoff to indulge in several surgeries, and being able to make a comeback, thanks to working with his brilliant acting teacher and coach, Gale Hansen.

Jack is also a writer, having had several shorts produced. His feature, You Are Here, is in development. He lives with his wife and son in San Pedro, CA.

Adam Keys, Comedian

Adam lost three limbs due to an IED explosion in Afghanistan, leading to a massive infection and over 100 surgeries. Despite his injuries, Adam has never lost his sense of humor or his drive. Having climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro following his recovery, he now does stand-up in the DC area and recently was the subject of a campaign to have him host the Oscars.


Michael Broderick, Actor

Michael is a Marine Corps veterans and served with Marine Light/Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 as a Logistics/Embarkation Specialist. He is an actor and producer best known for his work on True Detective (2014), Get Shorty (2017) and Power (2014). Michael is also a member of VME (Veterans in Media & Entertainment).


Sal Gonzalez, Singer-Songwriter

While Sal was stationed in Afghanistan, his Humvee suffered a direct hit from a roadside bomb, leading to the partial amputation of his left leg and a 12-month recovery. He subsequently decided to pursue a career in the music industry following an experience at the Country Music Festival in Nashville. Since that time he has penned a hit song “Heroes” about his time being deployed and appeared on season 9 of America’s Got Talent. 


Roman Baca, Dancer & Choreographer

Roman Baca, a New Mexico native, is a classically trained ballet dancer and choreographer. In 2001, recognizing his desire to defend the vulnerable, he took a hiatus from dance and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, serving as a machine-gunner and fire-team leader in Fallujah, Iraq during the Iraq War.

After the war, Baca returned to dance and co-founded Exit12 Dance Company, which tells veterans’ stories choreographically, to increase cross-cultural understanding and heal divisions. He has choreographed and championed dance works that explore the military veteran experience and the impact of war on civilians and families. Baca has presented his work at the 1st and 4th National Summits for the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, the Mayo Clinic’s Humanities in Healthcare Symposium, TEDX San Antonio, TED@NYC, and Lincoln Center’s Veteran Home Show.

He has also led choreographic workshops at schools, universities, and veteran’s centers to inspire military veterans, victims of war, and civilians through the power of dance.