Raised by a single mother Jonathan Neves grew up in a town in Ontario Canada called Owen Sound. His mother's career relocated them to Los Angeles on a work visa. Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles he enlisted in the US Army where he went on to serve eight years active duty. After several years in the US Amry, Jonathan deployed to Iraq.
Andres "Andy" Ivan Saldivar served as a US Army veteran with the 1st Armored Division 23FA Alpha Battery and stationed in Fort Bliss, El Paso. He was deployed into a combat zone in Afghanistan for nine months between 2012 and 2013. Andy was a cannon crew member under the MOS of field artillery and achieved a rank of Specialist.
Bruno joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 2001 and was assigned to Fox co. 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines as a Machine-Gunner and deployed to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also participated in Operation Peace Shield in Ukraine. He later served as Combat Instructor at the School of Infantry (West) from 2005-2008.
Just as Mr. Incredible learned that his real powers lied inside of him, regardless of his uniform, we as former athletes had to realize that important truism to begin our reinvention into our true selves…the real Incredibles!
Training the MVP Vets was a true honor and pleasure for me, as I have the most respect for all of them. Sitting in on the group talks after the work out really helped me put a lot of things into perspective.
We all go through situations in life that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging; in which sometimes, we find ourselves overwhelmed and drained. MVP is about embracing the obstacles, finding the confidence, coming together and sharing experiences with fellow veterans; knowing that were not alone and have a safe place to find courage and bond amidst the chaos and uncertainty.
MVP came into my life while I was at a low point. Early 2017 I had very little self-worth, I only identified with my faults and shortcomings, and I had absolutely no purpose. Though I appreciate and have come to cherish the views, perceptions, and experiences of my brothers and sisters in arms, it was the experience of Ryan Leaf that made a lasting impact on me. I respected and admired Ryan's honesty, integrity, and humility. I too wanted to write my comeback story, and I said to myself, "If Ryan Leaf can fall from grace in the national spotlight, and mount a comeback, so can I."
I've now found the family and camaraderie that I've needed since leaving the military. Between meeting with and helping other veterans and also our disaster relief efforts in Houston, I've rediscovered my sense of purpose and drive. It also helps when I dedicate what good I've been able to do to my fallen brothers. I'm finally truly proud to be a veteran. Proud that I came home and that I continue to survive. I'll never be the same person that I was before combat, but I'm finally ok with that.
Being a part of "MVP" gives retired athletes and retired veterans the ability to interact and share experiences and stories of what it's like to be removed from such an influential part of his or her life, and be expected to live like any other, "normal" person. Whatever "normal" is for us, we figure it out together.