Across the United States, in all fields of endeavor, Latinos are working to uphold their place in American society. Fox News Latino is proud to present "Our American Dream," a series of snapshots and profiles of Latino success stories.
From the battlefield to the job market, Major Brian Iglesias is on a mission to share his gifts of leadership, vision and fortitude in his pursuit to give veterans and disabled veterans jobs in a changing media landscape.
With an uncle and grandfather who served in the Puerto Rican army, Iglesias is no stranger to military life. He enlisted in the Marines when he was 18 years old, served active duty for more than 17 years, and is now a Major in the Marine Reserves and the president of Veteran’s Expeditionary Media.
“Being in the military is a calling,” Iglesias said. “It's where a boy turned into a man.”
But after serving in Iraq and in the Pacific for humanitarian missions, he returned to U.S. soil to fight for Americans struggling to survive in the U.S. job market.
Like many members of the military, service gave him a sense of direction, providing a new life purpose, as well as a feeling of brotherhood with his fellow soldiers.
Today, it's that deep sense of brotherhood that fuels his call to action.
Like many veterans, he found that getting work in his field after returning was another challenge to overcome. With minimal Hollywood contacts and a struggling economy, Iglesias found it difficult, though not impossible, to start living out his life’s purpose – filmmaking.
Adversity did not keep Iglesias from marching forward in his life, however. Not only did Iglesias help take care of his family, graduate with a degree in film and serve his country, he found that a desire to help others weighed heavy on his heart. He was blessed with innate leadership skills at a young age, and developed into a strong warrior right out of high school.
He partnered with Marine Captain Anton Sattler to form Veterans Inc., and together they took their passion for filmmaking and created a film they hope will be forever available to future generations. They pooled their money, created the company, and shot the award-winning documentary “Chosin.”
The documentary features stories from actual Korean War veterans who fought at Chosin. In the midst of shooting, Iglesias, Sattler and the veterans found themselves sharing experiences.
“The project is also a journey of remembrance and healing, as the new breed of combat vets tells the story of the men who served before them,” Iglesias said.
About his production company, he added: “There are tons of organizations, film scholarships, film festivals, etc., that focus on underrepresented groups in society, but you will find virtually none of these opportunities for veterans, nor will you find them for filmmakers with disabilities. In response, I have started a production company that primarily employs veterans with a specific preference for disabled vets.”
His company provides services from pre-production all the way through to distribution. It also offers military technical advice, creative services and production support.
He’s also partnered with the Producer’s Guild Diversity Program to help train veterans and find them employment in media. Together they are reaching out to the entertainment industry in hopes of providing education, advocacy, and mentorship to veterans in the film industry.
As president of Veteran’s Expeditionary Media, Iglesias continues to create original media projects and connect veterans with employment and training opportunities in the industry.
More information on Veterans Inc. and Veterans Veteran’s Expeditionary Media can be found at www.veteransinc.com. For more information on Iglesias’ award-winning film “Chosin,” visit www.frozenchosin.com.
GiGi Erneta is a Fox News Latino Contributor, a Radio Host of Standing Freedom, and freelance writer.