Leveraging NIL to champion dreams and legacy of our nation’s heroes

Christopher Vedvick, a retired Army Combat Wounded Veteran with seven combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, writes this powerful story for The Sporting Tribune on Veterans Day.

By Christopher Vedvick

In August, a chapter closed for me—one that had been deeply personal and etched with memories of resilience, sacrifice, and boundless patriotism. As the National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), I was privileged to advocate for our combat-wounded veterans across our land. But life’s mission isn’t static. This Veterans Day, a new chapter begins, one that seeks to intertwine the legacies of our nation’s heroes with the aspirations of our youth.

Task Force MVP, a Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) organization, is that new chapter. Born from a partnership with my esteemed colleague, Mohamad Mirgahari, with his invaluable experience from the Pentagon, this initiative seeks to represent and manage the NIL opportunities of college athletes, specifically those that are veterans, the children of active-duty military members, and our revered Gold Star families. To make this project a tangible reality, we’ll be collaborating with a national NIL powerhouse in Blueprint Sports, a company that manages more than 20 NIL collectives across the country with a robust team of industry specialists. Given their established expertise and their purpose-driven model, they’re the ideal partner for this initiative.

But this mission is not merely about sports representation. It’s about recognizing the indomitable spirit of those who come from a lineage of sacrifice and service. These young talents, a reflection of their heroic parents, are the embodiment of our nation’s enduring legacy of honor and unity. Task Force MVP is where the stories of service and national pride converge with the dreams and achievements of our young athletes.

As a combat-wounded Army veteran, having survived the impact of three hand grenades during my first deployment to Afghanistan, I’ve come to know the profound depths of sacrifice and resilience firsthand. The bond shared by veterans, military children, and Gold Star families isn’t just something I understand – it resonates in the very core of my being. This unique and powerful bond is the driving force behind Task Force MVP. Our mission isn’t merely a project; it’s a heartfelt commitment to empower and give back to those who have given immeasurably.

NIL opportunities, which have become increasingly relevant in college athletics, offer a platform for individuals to leverage their personal brands and experiences. And who better than our veterans, military children, and Gold Star families to benefit from such opportunities? Their stories, laden with challenges, resilience, and immeasurable sacrifice, deserve a podium.

From empowering veterans, who bring with them tales of valor, to supporting the children of our active-duty members, whose resilience mirrors the unyielding spirit of their parents, to honoring our Gold Star families, who’ve paid the ultimate price for our freedom—our goal remains singular: to ensure their stories are told, their potential recognized, and their futures secure.

This journey is more than just an initiative: it’s a pledge to our heroes—a testament to our gratitude, and an unwavering commitment to stand beside those who’ve served our nation with unparalleled honor.

As we unfurl the banner of Task Force MVP this Veterans Day, let’s come together. Join us in this monumental endeavor as we amplify the voices of our heroes, ensuring their sacrifices continue to inspire and that their dreams shape the legacy of our great nation.

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Christopher Vedvick is a retired Army Combat Wounded Veteran with seven combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. He recently concluded his tenure as the National Commander of the MOPH. He, along with Mohamad Mirgahari, co-founded Task Force MVP to champion the NIL rights of student-athletes, especially those from military families.