JIM ETTER, INDUSTRY MEMBER AND VETERAN

Honoring Bravery.

Jim applied to the VA for benefits—with no luck. “Every time I filled out a form, they asked for another.”

JIM ETTER, INDUSTRY MEMBER AND VETERAN

Honoring Bravery.

Jim applied to the VA for benefits—with no luck.
“Every time I filled out a form, they asked for another.”

SERVICES HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS STORY: VETERANS ASSISTANCE >

Who is Jim Etter and what does being a vet have to do with MPTF? Related to both Gary Cooper and the Andrews Sisters, one might think Jim was destined for a career in Hollywood. He worked on the lot at Warner Bros. Ranch. But when the draft came calling, it was time to serve his country, and serve he did.

YEARS OF SERVICE

Jim worked on missiles on an aircraft carrier. “If something fell on the deck — I had to pick it up and throw it overboard before it exploded.” It was not a job for the faint of heart. Jim’s arm would go numb and his hearing was severely affected by his proximity to the aircraft. In a horrific event he witnessed the tragic death of a serviceman. “Back then they didn’t know about PTSD.”

WHAT DID JIM DO IN THE INDUSTRY?

After Vietnam, he returned to the entertainment trenches as the Dancing Gorilla on the Captain & Tenille show and then moved on to work on The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, and more. He was a lighting technician on Mr. & Mrs. Smith when he was injured. The injuries proved to be a career ender and resulted in knee replacement surgery.”

HOW WOULD JIM MAKE ENDS MEET?

Jim applied to the VA for benefits — with no luck. “Every time I filled out a form, they asked for another.” Frustrated with the red tape and run around, Jim heard about the Veteran’s Benefits Assistance program at MPTF.

WHAT CAN MPTF DO TO HELP VETERANS?

This program was started in 2009 by one of MPTF’s social workers, Naomi Rodda. Naomi made it her goal to “break down the barriers” saying “it was about finding a willing and sympathetic ear at the VA who would work with me.” And that she did.

“They helped get me back out there doing what I had enjoyed, before my disabilities had me housebound.”

“they helped get me back out there doing what I had enjoyed, before my disabilities had me house-bound.”

-MICHELLE LEE
HOW WAS MPTF ABLE TO HELP?

After two years, in early 2017 Naomi was able to secure the entirety of Jim’s benefits—nearly doubling his monthly income.

WHERE IS HE NOW?

Thankful for the long-awaited benefits, “they helped get me back out there doing what I had enjoyed, before my disabilities had me house-bound.”

Now, Jim is able to give back to veterans with a program he calls “One Vet at a Time.” He finds a homeless vet, provides shelter for one to four days including clean clothes, haircut, three square meals. And then connects them to the VA for more permanent assistance. Thank you Jim, for doing your part!

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