When it comes to veterans and those currently serving in the military, Jason Resler is always willing to step up to the plate to lend a hand wherever he can.
Or the mic in the case of the accomplished comedian that will provide his sharp wit to the Cpl. Charles O. Palmer II Memorial Troop Support Program’s “Christmas & Caring Ball for Our Troops” fundraiser on Saturday.
In fact, it was Resler’s dedication to supporting the troops that first crossed his path with that of Chuck and Teri Palmer and their organization that sends packages to deployed troops in honor of their son who was killed in Iraq.
A touring headline comedian, Resler was looking for someplace local that he could donate the proceeds from his annual Veterans’ Day benefit show when he came across the Palmers – thrilled that he had found a group where the check would make an immediate impact and help sustain the all-volunteer effort that has sent 23,000 care packages to troops since it was formed.
“I just called them up to tell them I wanted them to be the recipient and got to talking with Chuck and Teri and before I knew it, I was doing this show for them as a part of the deal,” Resler said with a laugh. “I always have my Facebook followers nominate a group that supports veterans, and I liked that even though it was a small show that we did it would be a big impact on their budget and help them with what it is that they’re doing.
“The veteran’s stuff particularly hits home for me.”
The event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 5 to 10 p.m. at the MRPS Hall. Tickets are $75 per person with tables of eight available for $600. Tickets can be obtained by calling 209.239.3088, Chuck Palmer at 209.627.5147 or Teri Palmer at 209.627.5146.
Resler was still a young man when he joined the United States Navy in 1990, and was ultimately deployed to the Persian Gulf where he served in support of Operation Desert Storm about the U.S.S. Nassau – an amphibious assault ship that was coordinating search and rescue missions in the country.
In all Resler served four years active duty in the Navy and two as a reservist before he was discharged – earning a Combat Action Ribbon in the service of his country.
And while he didn’t know it at the time, those days on the Nassau were some of his first shows – setting the stage for what he would ultimately be able to stretch into a career that he loves.
“Being a young person exposed to the world and from people all of the country means that you learn a lot about things and about different cultures that you might not be used to with the added aspect – regardless of which branch you served in – that at some point in time you’re going to be saddled with a lot of time to kill,” Resler said. “It’s a lot of sitting around and waiting or standing in line and those really ended up being my first shows because everybody loves a good storyteller in that situation.
“The camaraderie is something that I’ll never forget, and there are a lot of situations that you find yourself in where you need a good laugh to get through the day of whatever stressful worries you might be facing. And those experiences came in handy later on.”
Because of his long career – most it spent touring different cities as a road comic – Resler has been able to carve out the ability to read his audience and learn that while people may be from different backgrounds, there’s always some common ground somewhere and that can easily be accessed through laughter.
While his material can be political in nature and he’s not one to shy away from being divisive when the situation calls for it, Resler said that his experience playing to different people has taught him that he can still be true to himself while at the same time finding that common ground with people.
“I’ve never been able to comprehend why some people are so shocked that somebody who has been to war comes back and is totally against war,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to basically live a dream once I got out of the Navy doing something that I absolutely love but you never forget where you came from. I’m very blessed that my job allows me to do things like this that benefit veterans, and while I do a lot of work for a lot of different charities, these veterans benefits always hit home for me.”
Marine Captain Gene Redding is the guest speaker. He has been deployed to the Middle East and is currently a financial advisor for Ameriprise Financial.
Navy veteran James (J.D.) Greer will sing the National Anthem. He has done the same prior to the start of an Oakland Raiders game.
Chris Teicheira will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Some of the confirmed special guests include Assemblyman Elect Heath Flora, retired Army Major General Elden Regua, Marine Captain Elaine Porter, Marine 1st Sergeant Bryan Campbell, Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum, and Tracy Mayor Robert Rickman.
There will also be dancing to music provided by disc jockey Angel.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.