95-yr-old WWII Veteran Leon Cooper receives Golden Goody Award
In recognition of his mission to bring home the 88,000 US MIAs (missing-in-action) soldiers
Join us in cheers for 95-yr-old WWII Veteran Leon Cooper, who was honored on Memorial Day 2015 with a Golden Goody Award by the Goody Awards in recognition of his mission to bring home the 88,000 US MIAs (missing-in-action) soldiers. This lifetime achievement award was presented at a Memorial Day Movie Premiere of his documentary film, “Return to the Philippines” (Vanilla Fire Productions) at the DGA (Directors Guild of America).
Both KCBS CBS2 and KTLA CW5 (Steve Kuzj) filmed this Golden Goody Award presentation before the movie premiere. Vanilla Fire Productions Co-Founder Steven C Barber and Goody Awards Founder Liz H Kelly presented the award on the red carpet, along with 70 Marines from Camp Pendleton in uniform, who gave Mr. Cooper a big “Ooh Rah” cheer.
When the award was presented, Leon Cooper emphasized, “I want it understood that I’m not accepting it. It’s for the guys, like these fellow warriors here.”
Leon then turned to the Marines with this heartfelt message, “You guys are the greatest. I want you to know there’s a special feeling of kinship that I have with all of you.”
Leon Cooper was a Navy landing craft officer, who landed assault troops on six Japanese island strongholds. To this day, Mr. Cooper feels a debt to the thousands of US soldiers who died during battles in Europe and in the Pacific, who lie where they fell in unmarked graves, and are listed as missing-in-action (MIA). Leon recognizes that there are thousands of families who are still affected by the lack of closure that results when a loved one is declared MIA – and has made it his mission to help recover and identify remains of missing veterans.
Following this award ceremony, 600+ fans watched the world premiere “Return to the Philippines: The Leon Cooper Story.” Director Matthew Hausle and Vanilla Fire Productions Executive Producers Steven C Barber and Tamara Henry introduced the film, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem (sung by Vanilla Fire‘s Tamara Henry) and Taps played by a bugler in uniform.
“Return to the Philippines” features Leon Cooper’s journey back to the battlegrounds where he fought in WWII, and is narrated by Ed Harris. John Mellencamp also donated his song “Troubled Man” to the movie. Singer Kenny C was also at this event, whose song “Coming Home” is in the movie. The film also premiered on Netflix this week.
This Golden Goody Award is only given out six times per year, and previous winners have included Actor John Savage (“The Deer Hunter” and who was at this Memorial Day event), Ian Somerhalder (“Vampire Diaries” star and Ian Somerhalder Foundation), Louie Psihoyos (Director of Academy Award Winning Documentary, “The Cove”), 106-yr-old Sir Nicholas Winton (who saved 669 children from the holocaust) and more.
For more PHOTOS of this Memorial Day Movie Premiere and award, you can visit the Goody Awards Facebook page.
Thank you Leon Cooper for your service!
© Goody Awards 2015