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Pat Sajak Goes to Bat for VVA and Wins Big Time

BY MARC LEEPSON

VVA gave Pat Sajak, the popular host of Wheel of Fortune, our Excellence in the Arts Award at the National Convention in Louisville last summer. This winter, Sajak, who served as a U.S. Army AFVN disk jockey, gave VVA something: a check for $58,300.

Sajak didn’t exactly give the money to VVA; he won it for his favorite veterans’ organization in the first round of the Jeopardy Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational tournament in a show that was aired January 21. Sajak bested two other celebs (actors Elizabeth Perkins and Doug Savant) on the popular TV quiz show, raking in the huge total for the non-profit of his choice. He also qualified for the championship round in which the top prize is a million dollars.

“I was honored to receive an arts award from VVA at the last Convention,” Sajak replied when he was asked how he decided to choose VVA as his charity on Celebrity Jeopardy. “It gave me a chance to see your great work up close. As a Vietnam vet, the Jeopardy appearance was an opportunity for me to give some exposure to the organization—not to mention some cash.”

When host Alex Trebek asked Sajak to name his charity, he said loudly and clearly, “Vietnam Veterans of America.”

“They do a lot of work to support the vets and their families,” Sajak said. “That’s a group that came back with some special challenges in terms of attitude. They have a website called veteranshealth.org and I’d recommend all Vietnam vets and Gulf War vets check it out. It’s about medical issues that might be affecting them and they don’t even know about.” At that point, the audience broke into applause.

Why did Sajak single out VVA’s Veterans Health Council? “When I informed VVA that I would be playing for them,” he said, “I asked whether there was anything in particular they wanted me to mention.” VVA President John Rowan suggested the VHC.

“We are very happy that Pat Sajak mentioned our work on veterans’ health issues on Jeopardy and that he directed veterans in the viewing audience to VVA and the Veterans Health Council web site,” Rowan said. “The web site provides important health information for veterans. We were pleased that a large number of veterans and their families checked out this site and called our national office after the Jeopardy appearance. Pat Sajak did our nation’s veterans a great service with this announcement.”

The Celebrity Jeopardy final round will be taped April 17. The air date has not been announced. Stay tuned.

 

 

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