Single and ready to mingle??? Me too! Oh and for charity … well, there’s no embarrassment in bidding high. It’s all for the cause! We are headed to the G.I. Film Festival’s and Officer and an Auction brought to you by the GIFF and Sip with Socialites. The night will be held at the Embassy of Austria from 7pm-10pm. Details HERE.
We were able to catch up with one of the fine eligible bachelors Keith Toy, who comes from a military family, as his father served in the Army in Vietnam, his grandfather fought in WWII in North Africa against Rommel and he, a commissioned officer, served a year in Afghanistan. Keith loves to travel and loved the camaraderie of the Army. We can’t wait to bid on him!
“The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.”
Pamela’s Punch: What was the motivation behind your wanting to join the Army?
Keith Toy: I get asked this question frequently considering the tumultuous nature of world affairs. My grandfather fought in World War II in North Africa. My father is retired First Sergeant (20 years of service) and a Vietnam War Veteran who spent three and half years there. I feel I carry on a legacy of people that serve. I have been in the Army for 15 years, enlisting in 1997, taking a “break” and attending the United States Military Academy at West Point from 2001-2005, and commissioning upon graduation. My motivation for joining is not the same for why I remain. My original enlistment was for six years working as a satellite communications specialist. While I enjoyed being in the military, I wanted to get my college degree before I was away from an academic environment for too long. So, I applied to several Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs and my commander asked me if I was aware of the United States Military Academy’s Preparatory School. She was a graduate and an All-American basketball player for West Point and mentored me to apply. During my freshman or plebe year (as we affectionately referred to it), the tragic events of 9/11 occurred. That is why I remain. That, and apparently women like a man in uniform.
PP: What life skills did you learn that have helped you in life that you might not have encountered had you not joined the Army?
KT: I honestly don’t think that the Army differs from the civilian world in that regard. Life skills are just that: life skills. If you want to succeed, you’ll find out what needs to be done in order to accomplish your mission, task, etc., and put in the time to learn the skill or tradecraft from whatever line of work you are involved. If it requires you to be proficient in using a particular weapon system to close-with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or mastering spreadsheets so that you can do trend analysis for degrading communications equipment or reading about emerging technologies and assessing how it can enable you to do your job better and more efficiently, you do it. I will say that I have served with many people that think that way, too, so it’s hard to deviate from that path. I learned that skill from my parents, not the Army. However, the Army, in my opinion has the ability to magnify that particular skill. What I have experienced, that I may not have encountered had I not joined the Army, are the many friendships with many great Americans from across our country through my service or from the communities I’ve lived while stationed in a particular region. But I honestly can’t say that things would be different or the same. I wouldn’t change my experiences, though. EVER.
PP: What does being a part of the G.I. Film Festival mean to you?
KT: Because of the decline in military service among so many Americans (it is estimated that less than .45% have served), many people do not understand the sacrifices endured by military service members, past and present. The connection my grandparent’s generation (the Greatest Generation as coined by Tom Brokaw) once held with their neighbors was a common crucible experience that was unable to replicated. The G.I. Film Festival is a chance to share the military experience in and out of the arena of war. The festival is the first in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film. This may sound kind of hokey, but I think everyone in the Army is a public affairs representative. We aren’t just Soldiers. We are husbands, brothers, mothers, sisters, sons, and daughters, just like other Americans. I think that it’s very important to tell the Army’s story so that our neighbors understand that we endure hardship just as much as they do and that we can gain a mutual appreciation and respect for what we each do to keep this country going.
PP: What are the takeaways from the Festival (and your event in particular) that you want attendees to have?
KT: I’ve always heard great things about the GI Film Festival from my friends Nick Palmisciano, Tom Amenta, Kelly Crigger, and Tim Kennedy at RangerUP (www.rangerup.com), and other veterans support organizations like Mike Erwin’s Team Red, White & Blue (www.teamrwb.org) and Michael Schlitz and Karl Monger from GallantFew (www.gallantfew.org) who do a lot for veterans. They applaud at how great it is to have a medium that shares the hardships and sacrifices of the men and women of our armed services.
As far as what I’d like to get out of the bachelor auction, I’m just looking to make it a great time for friendship and fellowship. And who knows, maybe cupid might show up…
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.