Servicemembers saluted on 'The Price is Right'

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"Master Sgt. Robin Brooks, come on down! You're the next contestant on 'The Price is Right!'" 

"Having my named called was music to my ears," said Sergeant Brooks, the first sergeant for the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

Although she had an airshow to prepare for the next day, she said she was happy she'd decided to be a part of the 350 member audience representing the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, retirees, disabled veterans and family members during a special taping of the daytime game show Sept. 10.

"This is an awesome opportunity to represent the Air Force and the Thunderbirds. I wouldn't have missed this opportunity for the world," she said of the "Salute to the Military" episode that is scheduled to air on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Game Show Host Drew Carey was enthusiastic about hosting Sergeant Brooks and the rest of the distinguished audience members for the special made in conjunction with the Department of Defense Entertainment Media and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

"I think it's important for everyone to show our support to the servicemembers," said Mr. Carey, a former Marine reservist. "We sponsored shows like this before 9/11. And we've even sponsored shows specifically for each the four services in the past. I only wish I could do more."

When asked how this idea came about, Mr. Carey passed the credit onto his production team. 

"The idea came from Drew. He was very involved in how to lay out this show, down to the prizes being awarded and games selected," said Mike Richards, the co-executive producer for the show. 

"It was really important for us to make the special 'extra special,'" said Syd Vinnedge, the show's executive producer. "We wanted gifts that were specific to military servicemembers and we didn't want anyone to leave empty handed. Thus, we are grateful for the support AAFES has given this show. Without them, we couldn't have made it happen. This has definitely been a 'win-win' for all."

AAFES provided six $1,000 gift certificates for online shopping at and six 1,000-minute phone cards for the contestants who made it on stage. Additionally, 10 percent discount coupons were given to everyone in the audience.

"When Drew explained the concept of the military salute show and wanting to provide gifts specifically for the military, I immediately thought of AAFES," said Barbra Brennan, the senior merchandizing representative from the CBS Promotional Placement and Awards Department. "I heard about the phone cards from a newspaper commentary addressing how any American could help the troops overseas during the holiday season a few years ago. I even checked the program out and was able to go to the homepage to purchase phone cards for my brother, Marine Maj. Bradley Brennan, while he was deployed to Iraq. It was a little gesture, but it meant a lot to be able to hear from him on a continuous basis."

The phone cards and gift cards can be purchased for a specific person or any servicemember, and it is much more cost effective than sending packages through the mail.

Purchasing phone cards or gift cards for military members separated from their families during the holiday season is a great opportunity for any American to show their support for the troops overseas. Whether you know someone personally or not, a little bit of home makes a world of difference, Ms. Brennan said.

"I was surprised that AAFES went out of their way not only to provide prizes for the six contestants who actually made it on stage, but also for the entire audience. The certificates will be really helpful for the holidays," Sergeant Brooks said.

While AAFES handled the prizes, Vicente Ogilvie, the deputy special assistant for entertainment media at the Pentagon, ensured protocol was followed and every service was well represented.

"This was a joint effort between the Los Angeles Office and DOD level," he said. "This event required DOD approval due to the magnitude of support required. Drew has always showcased the military in a positive light in the past, and we were more than happy to assist him with this project because it also helps highlight the DOD's America Supports You program."

Tune into "The Price is Right" on Veterans Day to see all of the contestants and to learn who wins their game prizes and the showcase showdown.

The price is always right when supporting the troops through AAFES as shipping charges are reduced, and affordable calling is just a click away. Any American can take part in the "Help Our Troops Call Home" and "Gifts from the Homefront" programs by logging on to

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