“My dad was in the U.S. Army,” says Kevin Holden. But that doesn’t begin to describe how deeply he cares about service men and women, how much he’s done for them, and how much he continues to do, especially with his latest project, a big fundraiser for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.
First, let’s step back a bit. Kevin started his career as a broadcaster for the Orlando Magic basketball team, a job he loved. “I was a theater major,” he says, “and I got into broadcasting by happy accident.” And it led to a truly special opportunity.
He began doing tours with Armed Forces Entertainment. Because he was the broadcaster for the Orlando Magic, he traveled with the Orlando Magic Dancers to entertain the troops all over Europe and Asia, including Okinawa, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and more. Kevin hosted the shows, which included dance performances, giveaways, and dance lessons for the kids. It was fun, but it also revealed something. He saw firsthand the sacrifices that Sea Service members and their families make. “You get to learn how the families are affected,” he says. “It really opened my eyes.”
He got the chance to meet the families, talk with them, and get to know them. He saw how they struggle and how they sometimes feel forgotten. It touched him. “It was so great,” he says, “how much those events meant to them.”
Let’s step back a bit again. When Kevin was a broadcaster with the Orlando Magic, he helped put together an event to benefit a charity begun by a player, Adonal Foyle. The event was a celebrity fashion show and silent auction. It was a huge success, raising tens of thousands for the charity. Kevin planned to repeat the event the next year. Then something unexpected happened.
He got into the movie business. He and a partner started Ryse, a streaming platform like Netflix that produces film shorts and feature-length films. Kevin wrote a script for a movie, a project that took him to Wilmington, N.C., for filming. But he never forgot the service men and women and their families he’d met on the Armed Forces Entertainment tours. “I’ve always had an affinity,” he says, “for the men and women who sign up for service.” And so he was determined to duplicate the charity event he’d done earlier, but this time to benefit service members. Meantime, a friend introduced Kevin to a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps, Herbert Robertson. They talked about the charity event Kevin wanted to do. Kevin asked, “What’s a good charity to give to?” Herbert said, “Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society!”
Herbert shared how the Society works, and about the sea service members and families who get financial help, and more. Kevin was impressed. “That really spoke to me,” Kevin says, “because these people can go to the Society and say, ‘Hey, my wife got sick, and I need help to buy a plane ticket,’ and they get help. I told Herbert, ‘This is perfect. We’ll go ahead and fund that.’”
And so the First Annual Holden On Celebrity Fashion Show was launched. The people who attend will be treated to an amazing event. Hosted by Joey Fatone of NSYNC, there will be a fashion show, a silent auction, a concert by acapella group Edge Effect, a DJ, dancing, and a whole lot more.
But the highpoint of the event will be when Kevin walks onto the stage to present a check to Staff Sergeant Herbert Robertson for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. “I am really looking forward to handing over that check,” Kevin says, “knowing that it will really help sea service members and their families and loved ones if they have an emergency.”
Kevin intends to make his fundraiser a regular event for the Society. “Just like all of us,” Kevin says, “people in the Navy and Marine Corps have things happen, whether it’s a car accident or a medical problem, and the fact that they can go to the Society and say, ‘I need help,’ and they provide it – I just think that is really cool.”
With people like Kevin and you, support for Sea Service members and their families continues to grow.
Tickets for the Holden On Celebrity Fashion Show in Wilmington, NC on 29 March, 2018 are available on Eventbrite.