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The life of Genna Griffith is nothing short of a patriotic fairytale. From her rewarding career path to her heart-warming love story, there is no doubt the New Yorker has a devout appreciation for our nation’s service men and women.
Genna’s adoration for singing and dancing started when she was just two years old. Acting out scenes to the musical Annie, her parents soon realized performing was something she was born to do. Her childhood passion never faded, as she went on to graduate from American University with a degree in Musical Theater. In 2003, she joined the USO show troupe and traveled around the world performing in over 600 shows on behalf of our country.
It was at one of these 600 shows that Genna’s love story began. While performing for wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she was introduced to Retired Capt. Marc Giammatteo. He was recovering after being wounded in Iraq in 2004, and unbeknownst to her, she was going to need to do a little recovering herself, because the captain had taken her breath away. “We both had an instant connection as we shared a love of music,” Griffith stated about their romance. The two went on to tie the knot in September of 2010, where they sang the duet, “All I Ask of You” from the Phantom of the Opera, as part of their vows.
After her time with the USO, Genna knew she wanted to continue to perform on behalf on our country. “There is nothing more rewarding than giving back to those who have sacrificed so much to protect our country,” she said. She, along with two other women from the USO troupe combined their talents and formed their own performance group—United We Sing. Together they continue to touch the hearts of thousands at hospitals, private parties, benefits, and other military and civilian events. United We Sing will be showcasing their talent at this year’s Carbo Dining In, as well as at the MCM with their beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.
Genna’s patriotic loyalty doesn’t end there. She is also the Director of Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans at Achilles International. A charity partner of the MCM, Achilles International is a non-profit organization that supports and sponsors people with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletic events worldwide. As Genna explained, “It is most rewarding being part of the recovery process from the beginning and watching individuals on the team evolve physically and mentally… they begin to build the strength and determination to become physically fit again and regain their competitive spirit.” Achilles Freedom Team was founded in 2004 due to the wars in the Middle East, as a rehabilitation program for wounded veterans. The program has served over 500 wounded veterans since it started and takes part in 16 races across the United States each year, including the Marine Corps Marathon.
Most of all, Genna is anxious to see the pride and joy of families as their wounded veteran crosses the finish line of the 36th MCM. “These military families have faced so many challenges, so to see the joy on their faces is such a powerful, emotional moment.”
It is easy to see that Genna not only sings about “the land of the free, and the home of the brave,” but that she is also grateful for just that: our freedom and our nation’s military. With a never ending United We Sing tour and countless Achilles Freedom Team events, Genna works hard to make sure everyone she touches lives “happily ever after.”
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