Army Vet's Film to Show True Meaning of Yellow Ribbons

ABC News Blogs
Army Vet's Film to Show True Meaning of Yellow Ribbons

View photo

Army Vet's Film to Show True Meaning of Yellow Ribbons (ABC News)

ABC News' Producer Angel Canales and Editor Arthur Niemynski report:

U.S. Army Sergeant Don're Walker says he knew he wanted to be a filmmaker from a very young age.

"I've been writing since I was a child and it has always been my goal and dream to be a filmmaker," Walker said.

He grew up in the Los Angeles area and he would write stories and poems and attended various writing workshops. But he put his dreams on hold in 2001, when he joined the U.S. Army Reserves at the age of 18.

"It was an opportunity for me to go through college and see the world," he said.

He was deployed to Iraq in 2006 and again 2008 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was later transferred into a public affairs unit, where he worked on media projects until he retired from active duty. He said he loved being a filmmaker so much that after his first deployment, he used the money he saved during that time to buy a camera.

Two deployments and being far away from his family wasn't easy, Walker said. "My first deployment was very tough. I had my daughter when I was in Fallujah and I didn't get to see her until she was 3 month old and it was hard because I was really young," he said.

When he returned from Iraq, he didn't think there was much support for troops. "I would see the yellow ribbons on people's cars," he recalled. "It felt like it was more for marketing and you would ask people why they wear the yellow ribbon and they didn't know."

Yellow ribbons show support for military service men and women at war and it is a sign of hope that a loved one will return home safe.

Walker got the opportunity of a lifetime this year to produce a film about the meaning of yellow ribbons as part of ABC's annual " Home for the Holidays" campaign. ABC put out a call for story submissions and selected five U.S. veterans with aspirations to work in the entertainment industry.

They were selected to create digital short films that are thematically centered on U.S. veterans coming home this holiday season. Each film is a unique story based on the veteran's experiences. Four are scripted and one is a documentary. Each film touched on friendship, family, honor and the holidays. The films also pay tribute to the brave men and women with whom the filmmakers served. Support for the "Home for the Holidays" initiative was provided by the veteran organization, Veterans in Film and Television.

Walker's film is " Yellow Ribbon," which was inspired by his relationship with his daughter. It celebrates the power of hope.

"It is a great way to thank the families and a great opportunity to bring back the pride we should have in our service members," Walker said. "There's so many times we hear about veterans having divorces, or losing families or coming back to broken homes, but we never hear about the families that stand waiting for us, which is our motivation to keep going."

Walker said his daughter was his muse. "I wanted to show her how much she helped me through my time in the military and how she helped me get back home," he said.

All five filmmakers had mentors in the process. For Walker it was Wendy Calhoun, writer and supervising producer from ABC's "Nashville," and Dwight Little, director of ABC's "The Practice" and "Free Willy 2."

"I broke down in tears when I heard I was selected for this project," Walker said.

"I want families and troops to be able to see the impact that family support has on troops while they are in combat," Walker said, noting he would like other veterans to see more veterans in the entertainment industry.

He's currently a military liaison for Columbia College Hollywood, helping veterans pursue their dreams of working the film and entertainment industry.

Walker also has a message for veterans.

"Find out what you want to do, set a goal and push towards it," he said. "If film is not your path, still set a goal and don't let anyone discourage you."

Second Tour is an ABC News digital series profiling the lives of military veterans who are doing unique things in the civilian world, including vets who took on an entrepreneurial venture to create a business, grassroots organization or a second career. For more stories visit .

View Comments (10)

Recommended for You

  • Hong Kong 'Fish Ball Revolution' Erupts in Violent Crackdown

    Violent clashes erupted overnight in Hong Kong after protesters defended unlicensed food vendors, set up for Chinese New Year celebrations, from being shut down by police. The group said on its official Facebook page that its candidate for local council, Edward Leung Tin-kei, had been arrested.

    Good Morning America24 mins ago
  • Brie Larson Hasn't Seen or Spoken to Her Dad in 10 Years

    Brie Larson is up for an Oscar for her emotionally-wrenching performance of a woman held captive in a garden shed for seven years in the film "Room."Some of the inspiration for her performance, the 26-year-old actress told Elle in a new interview, comes from her own life and difficult childhood.…

    Good Morning America24 mins ago
  • Sylvester Stallone Says He Considered Boycotting the Oscars

    The topic of diversity in Hollywood and within the Academy was addressed by several stars Monday at the Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills. Sylvester Stallone, a best supporting actor contender for "Creed," made headlines by saying he was open to the idea of boycotting the upcoming Oscars…

    Good Morning America24 mins ago
  • 'Fuller House' Cast Reveals First Official Trailer on 'Ellen'

    The official trailer for "Fuller House" is reminding everyone that family is forever."Fuller House" stars Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin and Andrea Barber appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to discuss the upcoming "Full House" reboot. The first official trailer for the Netflix original…

    Good Morning America24 mins ago
  • Senator Worries Too Many Ineligible People Getting Obamacare Subsidies

    The head of a key congressional homeland security committee said today he's worried the Obama administration's system for denying Obamacare tax credits to ineligible applicants is so lax that it could lead to many undocumented immigrants getting coverage. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin,…

    Good Morning America26 mins ago
  • Kelly Rowland Reveals What She's Learned From Beyonce’s Mom

    It's been nearly 20 years since singer Kelly Rowland launched on the scene as a member of one of music's prominent girl groups: Destiny's Child.Like many young stars growing up in the spotlight, it’s been a challenge for the singer to reinvent herself to remain successful.However, Rowland has…

    Good Morning America28 mins ago
  • Royal Caribbean Passenger Recounts Terrifying 12 Hours on Cruise Ship

    One passenger on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by hurricane-force winds said she was afraid for her life as the boat tipped side to side and she lay in bed shaking.Guests on the Anthem of the Seas ship were asked to stay in their rooms Sunday as wind gusts topped 76 miles per hour…

    Good Morning America32 mins ago
  • Goodwill Encourages People to 'Donate Your Ex's Stuff' This Valentine's Day

    A Florida branch of Goodwill is offering the broken-hearted a chance to start fresh and do a good deed for Valentine’s Day. “We’re telling people they can turn the hate into donate and they’ll feel great in the process,” Kelly Davis Strausbaugh, marketing and public relations coordinator for…

    Good Morning America34 mins ago
  • Where Bernie Sanders Leads, a Menagerie Canvasses

    Witness the Primary Day crowd on Elm Street today in Manchester, New Hampshire. Bleu, a 3-year-old Scottish highlander, was canvassing for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Led by his owner, a farmer, Bleu walked along Elm Street giving rides and taking pictures with passersby.

    Good Morning America45 mins ago
  • 18-Year-Old Kidney Transplant Survivor Gets Renovated Truck Thanks to Make-A-Wish

    Strangers from around the country came together to make over a pickup truck for an 18-year-old kidney transplant survivor. Nick Cesarini, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was surprised with the truck Saturday in a reveal so dramatic his twin sister flew home from college to attend it. “I was blown…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Serial' Convict Adnan Syed's Hearing Wrapping Up

    Lawyers trying to get a new trial for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer at the center of hit podcast “Serial,” and the state attorneys who are hoping to keep him behind bars are making their closing arguments today after resting their respective cases in Syed's bid for a retrial. Syed’s lawyers --…

    Good Morning America
  • Slain Virginia Teen Discussed 'Her Boyfriend' Before Abduction, Friend Says

    A friend of the 13-year-old Virginia girl who was allegedly abducted and murdered last month said the teen had told her about an older "boyfriend" before she went missing. Nicole Lovell, 13, was found dead four days after going missing in late-January and Virginia Tech students David Eisenhauer,…

    Good Morning America
  • Baby Sloth Flies in Private Jet to New Home at National Aviary in Pittsburgh

    A baby sloth was recently flown on a private jet from a breeder in Florida to his new home at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 3-month-old Linnaeus sloth "enjoyed the flight very much," National Aviary marketing coordinator Laura Smith told ABC News today. The tiny sloth,…

    Good Morning America
  • 2 Trains Collide in Germany, 10 Dead, at Least 100 Injured

    Two morning commuter trains have collided in Bad Aibling in southern Germany, raising the death toll to 10 people and injuring more than 100 others, police said.The train manufacturer, Meridian, released a statement in German, saying two trains collided just after 7 a.m. today local time. One…

    Good Morning America
  • 'The Bachelor' Recap: Shocking Eliminations in the Bahamas

    Monday night's episode of "The Bachelor" picked up where last week's episode left off: with Ben Higgins having a private chat with Olivia after he received several complaints about her from the other women. Olivia played the victim, saying she has a target on her back and that her fellow…

    Good Morning America
  • Husband Settles Bed-Hogging Debate With Laser Down the Middle

    If your significant other hogs the bed, this man has a solution: Set up a laser down the middle.Jon Nagel, of Dallas, Texas, posted this hilarious photo to Reddit where it’s now going viral with nearly 1 million views. The caption reads, “In our house there is no debate, ONLY DATA.”He said he…

    Good Morning America
  • Zika Virus Outbreak Updates: Florida Expands State of Emergency to 7th County

    As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women, because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. …

    Good Morning America