How a Hollywood Actor & US Marine Uses Celebrity Swag to Help K9s For Warriors

Written by: 
Brianna Bentov

Travis Aaron Wade is a 0311 Infantry Marine who, 20 years ago, transitioned out of the military to an acting career in TV and film.  His resume includes dozens of productions, most in the action and thriller genres with military and law enforcement themes.  You may have seen him in TV shows such as NCIS: Los Angeles, Vegas, CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS; or in the films War of the Worlds, The Forger, or Criminal Activities. His most recent project, Todd Robinson’s military drama, The Last Full Measure, arrives in theaters worldwide on Oct. 25, 2019.

Even before becoming a veteran himself, Travis has been supporting veterans’ charities.  His grandfather, Arthur Royle, was a soldier in WWII, and his service and dedication to his country became part of Travis’s core values from a very early age.  This passion to help others led Travis to create a fundraising organization called TRUTH 11:11 - Talent Reissues Unique Threads For Heroes - on Veterans Day (11/11) 2018, with his business partner, a retired Air Force wife named Vicki Bartle. 

Late last year, Travis and Vicki travelled to our main campus in Ponte Vedra, Fla. to take a tour after hearing about our work pairing disabled veterans with service dogs.  They were so moved by what they saw that they decided to contribute to our mission through TRUTH 11:11.

Active on Instagram , Facebook, and Twitter, Travis and TRUTH 11:11 post regular messages and videos of fellow actors and actresses championing TRUTH 11:11 and K9s For Warriors, to raise funds for our program through the auctions of signed celebrity swag.  We recently interviewed Travis to get his perspective on the effort, and how he and his Hollywood community are helping our nation’s military and veteran heroes.

 

 

K9FW: Can you explain exactly what you’re doing to help fundraise for K9s For Warriors?

TAW: TRUTH 11:11 auctions off celebrity donated items and memorabilia to raise money for veterans causes, including K9s For Warriors. The auctions are not only movie/television memorabilia, but there are also personal items - whatever the celebrity wants to donate. We have movie scripts, hoodies, items from sets, you name it. All of the items have the celebrity’s autograph, and the items are then verified both on the celebrity’s social media as well as truth 11:11 social media.

 

K9FW: Why did you choose K9s For Warriors as a charity you want to benefit?

TAW: I, myself, am very passionate about service animals. I’ve seen service dogs work miracles. Once we saw what you were doing, we realized that we wanted to be a part of it and help you guys grow.

Also, I wanted to prove that the model of engaging celebrities and their fans by auctioning off memorabilia for a good cause worked.  We want to be the eBay of celebrity auctions and donations. That’s our ultimate goal. 

 

K9FW: You often reference veteran brotherhood and sisterhood.  Why do you think that is so important for veterans?

TAW:   I feel community and tribe are very important - and are things society is sadly pulling away from.

As connected as we are through social media, we’re more disconnected than ever in history. The veteran suicide rate is alarming. We are not truly connecting as human beings were designed to connect. An authentic human connection, through community, tribe, and unconditional love and support of a service dog is truly what we want to endorse and support.  The internet and social media, used correctly, can assist in that goal. TRUTH 11:11 feels that we can bridge those two worlds together.

 

K9FW: You made a Mother’s Day post on Instagram where you thanked your mother for teaching you to never give up, never quit, and pulling you out of darkness. All of our warriors can relate to those feelings. Can you explain what you meant by that?

TAW:  I was mainly referring to the idea that we don’t treat mental illness the same way we treat physical illness. Any trauma that veterans haven’t healed through community will try to pull them downward, and this makes it hard to see out of the dark and isolated spiral.  I know our veterans are familiar with it. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out and asking for help.  There’s a beauty behind a service dog bringing unconditional love, and for veterans taking care of something other than themselves. They know if they can take care of each other, then they can get help for themselves. A lot of times vets will isolate, feel they’re not worth anything, and that if they could disappear, no one would care.  We believe there’s a way to come out of that - with community, connection, and support of unconditional love.

 

K9FW: Can you tell us some of the celebrity partners who have been helping you and how you find them?

TAW: Oh man, there are so many. Grant Gustin – he was our first ambassador in November 2018 - Mike Vogel, Daniel Gillies, Rachael Leigh Cook, Neil Brown, Jr., Ser`Darius Blain, and most recently, Captain Dale Dye.  They’ve all taken part in our cause because they believe in it, too. I’ve been in the entertainment business for 20 years, so the majority of these partners I’ve either worked with or met along the way in our acting careers.

K9FW: How often do you put up new items for auction?

TAW: New auctions start every Sunday.  We have boxes of individually signed items and we auction them off weekly.  Make sure to follow us on social media, @t1r1u1t1h to keep up with all of our latest auctions.  

 

K9FW: Any last comments for our supporters to know?

TAW: Over the years we constantly hear “thank you for your service”, but those are just words.  Actions will always speak louder than words, and TRUTH 11:11 and our ambassadors are walking the walk. Their time and donations are putting their words into actions and each item auctioned genuinely helps to save lives.  We are here to make a genuine connection, continue to be statesmen and help those that give The Last Full Measure so that others may live.

 

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