The Morning Formation Podcast

Super Bowl Special: The LA Rams Fan of the Year is an Army Combat Veteran with Amanda Filimon

February 08, 2022 KP Season 2 Episode 6
The Morning Formation Podcast
Super Bowl Special: The LA Rams Fan of the Year is an Army Combat Veteran with Amanda Filimon
Show Notes Transcript

Today, we have a Super Bowl special! I’m joined with a 15-year combat Army Veteran, who was selected this season’s as “THE Fan of the Year for the Los Angeles Rams,” who are obviously in the Super Bowl playing against the Cincinnati Bengals on 13 February. In addition, our military Veteran guest is in the running to become “THE Ultimate NFL Fan of the Year,” which will be announced at NFL Honors.

We’re joined with Amanda Filimon today and she was recognized by the NFL for not only her outstanding military service, but also her continued service after the military as a registered nurse especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout her entire career, Amanda's desire to help secure a better tomorrow did not stop after serving her country. And that is why we have her as a guest on today’s show.

Follow Amanda on IG: https://www.instagram.com/amandabrooke32/

SB Nation's Article and Interview with Victor Cruz: https://www.sbnation.com/ad/22882424/captain-morgan-fan-of-the-year-amanda-filimon-los-angeles-rams

KP:

This episode is powered by Aktau education, go to www dot ACC now education.com For free comprehensive educational resources and opportunities for active duty veterans, military spouses, and children.

Amanda Filimon:

If someone's going through a dark time or something, and they come across someone who's been there or is going through that, then you know, they can talk about that. And there's just not enough conversation I think being had or at least not enough platforms out there, where people feel comfortable doing that, because, you know, there's such a stigma with veterans mental health, and, you know, how are they going to react and what's the personality going to be like? So, you know, we have to allow them places like safe spaces to come together and you know, and talk about these things.

KP:

For years fall in, it's time for formation. Today, we have a Super Bowl special. I'm joined with a 15 year combat Army veteran, who was selected this season as the fan of the year for the Los Angeles Rams, who are obviously in the Super Bowl playing against the Cincinnati Bengals on 13 February. In addition, our military veteran guests is in the running to become the ultimate NFL fan of the year, which will be announced at NFL honors this week. We're joined with Amanda filmin. Today, and she was recognized by the NFL for not only her outstanding military service, but also her continued service after the military as a registered nurse, specifically during the COVID 19 pandemic. Throughout Amanda's entire career, she is desired to help secure a better tomorrow and did not ever stop serving her country. And that is why we have her as a guest on today's show. Amanda, thank you for being on the morning formation today.

Unknown:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to finally sit down to talk to you and maybe tell you a little bit about my story.

KP:

Yeah, no, definitely. I'm glad that we connected through Instagram. And I found a lot of your posts really fascinating. And what was even more fascinating was finding out that you and I were in ai t at Fort Lee, right around the same time. And we knew a lot of the same drill sergeants. So it's a small army.

Unknown:

Yeah, no, that was super crazy. I don't think I've run into anybody since ai t that actually went there. So to know that we were there at the exact same time. And we could actually talk about the same people and know exactly what we were talking about. It's kind of crazy. So obviously this was meant to happen. I think, most definitely.

KP:

And Amanda, I want to ask this right off the bat, you know, I know that you're a BSN in nursing. And that's certainly no easy task. I know this because I was a gold bar recruiter at my university, after getting my commission and getting someone with a willingness to serve in the military, to have the intelligence to maintain the GPA to get a BSN, and to also have that person with the ability to pass the army physical fitness test was really, really tough to do. So let's talk about your transition experience into nursing and how the military deployment affected your overall journey.

Unknown:

Yeah, it's a real interesting story. Because I mean, I joined the military out of high school because I honestly I didn't know what I wanted to do. And it was fascinating to me the idea of it and being a part of a bigger team and being able to kind of make a difference in our world. So I thought, okay, that's, that's what I know that I can do. So let's start there. And when we got deployed in 2005, and spent some time overseas, I had the opportunity to become a combat lifesaver. So I learned some basic skills that I think before that I would have been intimidated by like starting IVs and tying tourniquets, and pressure dressings, things like that, to kind of save lives immediately in the field. And doing that class and knowing that I was capable of actually doing the things that you know, in those high pressure situations, I thought maybe I can do something in the medical field, maybe there is a place for me there because I was a little intimidated by it before all that. So I actually had my mom send me some textbooks and I took some online classes while I was in Iraq. My sergeant first class at the time, he was actually my proctor for all of my exams that I would take. So I would I would study you know, in like my downtime that I had. And then I would take like an hour and take a test like in one of the back rooms in our little makeshift office while we were, you know, working. And that allowed me whenever I came home, to actually go and take a lab that I needed to take for one of the classes that would allow me to apply for a program that I had been looking at. And I was actually going to go into surgical technology I wanted I thought surgery was fascinating and I wanted to like pass the instruments and be really involved in surgery. And so that was my idea. So I came home from Iraq, and I had the classes necessary to apply got in. And then I actually started working at a hospital in surgery, as they call them different things all over the US. But I was an operating room tech, so I was in the environment I wanted to work in. And it was kind of at that time, when I saw the nurses working and saw what they were doing and their interaction with patients and kind of giving back on that level that kind of made me and gave me the confidence to say, maybe I can actually be a nurse, maybe I can do this. Um, and so I actually started the process in the middle of surgical tech school, to become a nurse and taking the classes and the exams to get into the program. And, and I did, I got into the next program, and I started that journey. And then in 2009, December, I graduated as a registered nurse. And I credit the military for pretty much all of that journey, because it instilled a lot of confidence in the medical field for me by kind of forcing me to go into these combat lightsaber courses, and then being able to allow me to even take those classes while you know, while we were deployed, you know, I don't know, it just it opened up a whole new world. To me, that is kind of where I'm living at right now, which I'm so very thankful for.

KP:

So it sounds like your time in Iraq was spent very efficiently. I mean, a lot of folks tend to use their downtime to just watch movies or play games and things like that you were busy studying, which really underlines your overall your overall fight and your overall resiliency to get where you wanted to go to meet your goals. And that's very impressive, Amanda, and at the time, how old were you? And what was your rank?

Unknown:

So I was a sergeant ie five, and I was 24. I think I turned 25. While I was on deployment in February, so yeah, half 24, half 25. But yeah, no, I definitely filled all of my downtime with something that would distract me from what was really going on. I mean, I spent a lot of time in the gym, spent a lot of time reading and, and studying. And then obviously the rest of my time, you know, focusing on whatever job it was at the time that we had to do.

KP:

Yeah, that's great. That's a especially as any five, it's great to lead the way and show the other lower enlisted folks, you know how to handle such a situation in a positive way. During that downtime. I know many times folks can kind of be left to their own isolation in their own head, depressed about missing family and whatnot. But to spend time in the gym and to spend time to progress your studies was an excellent move on on your behalf. And you know, since you work in the nursing field, mental health has been on the rise. And with you being a nurse, what are some of the things our community can do to help with managing their mental health specifically, when they transition out of the military?

Unknown:

You know, I think for me, I mean, we kind of hit on it while I was deployed is just getting involved, and including those holding events where, you know, we can all come together and talk about these kinds of things, I think that's the problem is, people have all these feelings, and they don't know who to talk to, they don't know where to go to talk about it. And then you just get in your own head, you don't have any of these outlets. And, you know, for me, a lot of my outlets are, you know, are getting involved in things, whether it's, you know, running a race, or, you know, being involved in charities or doing something that I can to give back. I think that's so important, because that kind of makes me feel good. And at the end of the day, I think that's what it's all about, is trying to figure out, how can we make ourselves feel better, because, you know, you know, how dangerous it can be to kind of get into your own head and, and kind of let those thoughts just kind of marinate and, you know, I think we can all get to that place, you know, if we allowed it. And I think it's not allowing yourself to get there by staying focused by giving back. You know, I would hope that the community and I see more and more things out there, which, which I really appreciate, um, I'm part of a lot of sports teams out here in LA and, and one of them specifically has a supporters group for the soccer team. That is, you know, bet definitely for veterans, which is really cool, you know, because it allows them a space to come together with like minded individuals who have experiences that they can all relate to. And if someone's going through a dark time or something, and they come across someone who's been there or is going through that, then, you know, they can talk about that. And there's just not enough conversation I think being had or at least not enough platforms out there, where people feel comfortable doing that because, you know, there's such a stigma with veterans and mental health and, you know, how are they going to react and what's the personality going to be like so You know, we have to allow them places like safe spaces to come together. And you know, and talk about these things. Because you know that if not, they're just gonna sit there and fester and manifest themselves into things that that can't be harmful down the road. And that's definitely what we want to avoid at the end of the day, I think.

KP:

Yeah, it's very well said, you definitely want to make sure that you keep your mind moving and not have a stagnant mindset when it comes to being left to your own thoughts. And so I think it's very wise what you said, as far as staying involved and being around people and understanding that you do have a support group as well, especially some of those organizations that you just mentioned. With the with the soccer team. That's, that's really great. And, you know, this would be a great time for me to ask you right off the bat right now, how did you become the LA Rams fan of the year? And what are the perks and recognition that come from being a part of that and being selected?

Unknown:

Oh, man, what an incredible opportunity that has been given to me. And this all started the very beginning of I think it was the beginning of December, I can't remember the dates Exactly. But I'm a season ticket holder for the Rams. And I think an email had come out that my husband had come across, where it said something to the effect of Do you know of anybody you know, in your life, that you would like to nominate, you know, that, you know, it's done stuff out in the community, or is a good representation for what the Rams organization is all about? And so he wrote to them and said, you know, hey, I have a wife who, you know, twice in her life has been called to be on the front lines, whether it's in the military or on the front lines of COVID-19, you know, and she's, you know, a huge rams fan and we're season ticket holders. And, like, I can't think of anybody better, you know that to represent you guys. So he wrote a letter to them. And on the game versus the lions, they they said, Hey, we want to recognize you as our military hero of the game, which was always one of my favorite parts of any sporting event, I love when we get to, like, meet veterans and see what's out there. And I just, I don't know, gives you all kinds of feelings whenever you see people out there. So I'm like, Oh, my gosh, like, I get to do this. I get to like, this is insane. This is incredible. And I got out there on the field. And they, you know, have their little vignette that they put up on the screen and talked about my military service and even like my nursing service, and then they came out and surprise me with oh, by the way, we are making you our rams fan of the year and you're going to the Super Bowl. And I just lost it. Like, full on like ugly cry. I didn't even know like how to react to that. I was like, Are you kidding me? Like this is insane. So that began a journey that I'm still currently on. And that is involved. Lots of fun zoom calls with the other 31 Fans of the year, because every team nominates one to send to the Super Bowl. And we've been on Zoom calls with Roger Goodell, we've gone been on Zoom calls with former players. Some of the officiating committees, the Super Bowl Planning Committee, we've been on Zoom calls with I got to do a special little segment with Victor Cruz from you know, former New York giant, which is really cool. You can see that out there all courtesy of Captain Morgan. So you can go out to Captain Morgan's website, and you will see my silly little video that they put together. But yeah, all of this boils down to one thing, which is Thursday, like you'd mentioned NFL owners will they will give someone fan of the year so one of us 32 nominees will walk away with the ultimate prize, which I don't even know what it actually is other than being able to say I'm finished here, which is pretty cool. In my eyes.

KP:

I definitely think that that in itself is really cool to be you are probably part of like 1000s of people that had put in for that and you were selected. Now not everyone that's fan of the years of veteran, correct?

Unknown:

Correct. There's all kinds of fans of the year. I mean, we have some that are we have some other military, we have some that are you know, nurses are in health care. Um, I might be the only one that's both there might be one other person but I'm not sure I haven't heard much about them. Other ones are just young people that are super fans involved in their community in some way maybe, you know, been a part of some kind of organization for different reasons, and are just all around really just good people at the at the heart of what they are that also love to like support their team. So it's a wonderful group of people have actually gotten to learn a whole lot about and I've gotten to be really close with and then on Thursday, right before the Super Bowls, we'll all get together and we have all kinds of fun events planned aside from NFL owners. We have a brunch scheduled with Victor Cruz and Ben Baller who is designing some kind of chain for all of us. And if you're not familiar with him baller, he's like one of the celebrity jewelers out here in LA. And so yeah, somebody gets some swag from him. And then we all get to go to the Super Bowl together, we all get to sit together and just talk about our fandom. But I'll be one of two people there that will be cheering on one of the teams on the field, which I think is insane. So excited.

KP:

I'm excited for you if you know everything that you're talking about right now, it sounds very exciting. And I really appreciate you representing our veteran community as well. Just based off of your overall experience and accolades, from nursing to your deployment to Iraq and everything, it's it's really great to have someone like you out there at the Superbowl representing us. And thank you for being involved in that. And speaking of involvement, you know, you are so involved with the Los Angeles sports scene. Can you talk to us about your your work with major, major arena Soccer League, and what else you're involved with as far as LA and sports?

Unknown:

Sure, um, yeah, I, I love sports. I've always loved sports. And LA is such a fun place to be a sports fan. Because you have so many options, you have so much access, I grew up in a small town in Indiana, where we didn't have anything within a couple hours of us everything was something you had to drive to. So it was really hard to get that connection. So here you have this opportunity to connect with teams. And one of the things that we've really gotten involved with is out in Ontario, which is about 45 minutes east of LA, we have an indoor soccer team. And indoor soccer is fascinating. It's like soccer, take hockey, ice hockey and put it on turf. And that's kind of what indoor soccer is. It's it's fast, it's dynamic. There's no time to like, you know, roll around and pretend you're injured, they'll tell you to get up. It's high scoring. It's dynamic. So we decided we wanted to try to make this more prevalent to people because people don't know about it. So we started a podcast for it. It's called striking theory, because it's called the Ontario theory. So we said let's start a podcast, let's talk about if people are talking about it, then maybe we can bring awareness to it, which is funny, which is what we talked about, with with veterans in mental health. The more you talk about it, the more people are aware of it. And so we did we started that and they loved what we did. And they bought us onto their broadcast team. They said, Hey, would you be interested in being a sideline reporter and talking to the players and the coaches are just kind of giving sideline information during the games. And my husband, they asked him to do play by play, which is like a lifelong dream of his. So of course, he said yes. And I said yes. And so yeah, so we are officially on the broadcast team for the Ontario theory. So every home game, I get to walk around and either interview players or you take Erin Andrews, if you watch sports, I'm like the indoor soccer version of her on a whole different level. But yeah, I do that. So that's super fun. I encourage anybody to tune into MSL on YouTube to catch the live games. They're fascinating. There's so much fun. It's like, if soccer on the pitch is considered like a long classical rock ballad. I think of indoor soccer as like punk rock. It's just like, hard fast goes straight to the point. And when it's over, you don't know what just happened. So And aside from that, we also have season tickets to La FC, the men's MLS team here in LA, we jumped on board with them right from the get go before we had anything. So we built this team from the ground up. And we've been there every step of the way. My husband does a podcast for them called defenders of the bank. So the number one fan base podcast for lafc. And we're also doing some shows some pre and postgame shows with one of the LFC crews as well. So you'll see us on there. And then the women's team just came to LA. We're starting our season this year called Angel City FC as part of the NWSL. And I do a podcast for that because why not? While I'm doing podcasts, why not do one for the women's team. So me and my best friend Nina. She is my podcast partner. And we talk about all things interested in it. And we can't wait for games to start up your season ticket holders for that. We do that podcast. And so yeah, I think for now that's all I'm involved with. But I feel like that part is growing every day. Like we just keep getting more and more involved in and I love it. I love talking about sports when I'm not being a nurse. I get to talk about sports.

KP:

You're so involved with so much Amanda. It's absolutely amazing. And what's great is your husband's also involved too. He must be a great guy because he got you into the fan of the year for the NFL. And, and most importantly, this couldn't be a better year for you because the LA Rams are going to be in the Super Bowl. So like you said, you're going to be one of two fans of the year that's going to be celebrating their team that's actually there. And it's great to hear that you're also podcasting too. And representing the the angel cities, Angel City chicks podcast, through the women's soccer team, I'll make sure I put all the information that you're mentioning down in the show notes as well, for anyone that would be interested in following you or checking out the video that you talked about earlier with Victor Cruz, you mentioned that you're sort of the Erin Andrews of the Ontario fury. But you're the Erin Andrews with veteran status and then also to your your nursing, I mean truly heroic your overall resume. And as the LA Rams fan of the year, what are your plans for the Superbowl?

Unknown:

So because this is all part of a big group of people, even though I live in LA, and I live, like less than 30 minutes from the stadium, they actually are putting us all up in a hotel over by the airport. So I actually get to stay in a hotel Thursday through Monday with all the other fans of the year. And aside from the NFL honors that we're doing and the brunch on Friday, we'll be going to the Super Bowl experience center at the convention center on Saturday. And then on Sunday, the big day for the game. We all get picked up from the airport together, we have transportation to the event, and they are going to take us to the stadium. We're all gonna sit together and try and like I said, Somebody did tell me that we do get some kind of on field recognition maybe at the beginning of the game. So I'm told, I don't know. I don't know if it's televised, I don't know if it's just like, like, run out there, say something and we all wave and then go back to our seats, which are somewhere way up in the top, which is fine. But yeah, so we're gonna all do that, we're gonna watch that together, we're gonna see an amazing Halftime Show, which I'm almost equally as stoked about that, as I am the Rams being in this in the Super Bowl as well. But it's just gonna be an incredible day. I mean, like I said, we get to celebrate, I celebrate my team, with a bunch of super fans from other teams don't have to worry about parking in LA, if you've know anything about that, then you understand where I'm coming from. Don't worry about transportation, and we'll all party together hopefully in the hotel after that, hopefully, we'll be celebrating me and not the other fan of the year. But I hope it just all comes together and yeah, I it's gonna be incredible day all around. And like I said, despite who wins fan of the year, despite who wins the Super Bowl, this has been an incredible experience that at this point, it could stop now and I've been thankful for every bit of it along the way. It's been fantastic.

KP:

That sounds absolutely fantastic. And I just hope for a good game and looking forward to hopefully seeing seeing you on the field. And again, I hope they highlight you and your military service and all the great things that you've done. You know, nursing as well especially through these last couple years during the pandemic has been really really tough. So it's great to have someone as strong and as as resilient as you standing on that platform representing our community and Amanda if anyone out there is interested in following up with you on anything that you mentioned today or just following you on your social media platforms, where can they find you

Unknown:

so Instagrams the best place for you to find me that's where I usually post links and stuff for things if if it's connected to a video which is where I currently have a think my Captain Morgan videos in my bio, but it's Amanda Brooke with an E at the end. Amanda Brooke 32 That's my handle. So please find me follow me interact with me. If you ever just want to talk I'm there to I loved obviously I run podcasts I love to talk so somebody needs someone to talk to I can do that as well.

KP:

That's awesome. Awesome. And thank you for joining us just before the the crunch time week that you're going to be super super busy and recording this with me on this Saturday. I'm going to release this podcast ASAP this week for listeners out there so that we can highlight the fact that we have a veteran that's going to be on the NFL fan of the year I guess selection and hopefully I I'm rooting for you to win but as far as the teams I don't know I'm kind of torn because I did live in Ohio for a timeframe but I do live in LA now. I'm really just hoping for a good game between between both teams and I hope for a really great Super Bowl. And Amanda, anything else out there that you would like to provide our listeners, any advice or anything extra that you want to mention before we finish up the podcast?

Unknown:

You know, um, I think, I think what I would want anybody to take away from this, if if they can, I mean, cuz I feel like this podcast as much as it's about me, there's a bigger message here that you're trying to send on this podcast, which I appreciate so much. And, you know, it's just, I really, I think, for me, staying and being involved in things has really just kept my mind focused where it needed to be. And I think if you're someone who's out there who's struggling, someone who is just feeling kind of lost, and you need something, I mean, first reach out, try to be involved, try to find something that really does give you joy, and try to get into that, you know, I, I found when I was in Iraq, I loved I started running, I loved running, and it just got me into a good place. So for me, that's what that was. And because of that, it allowed me to come back here into the states, and I've completed so many road races, I've completed six marathons, you know, and I found a new passion in life. You know, just because, you know, I got involved and decided, you know, I want to do something for myself, I want to get involved in things, I love helping charities, obviously, you know, with all the podcasts and the sports teams, it just puts me in places that that are are good spaces for me, to allow me to, you know, just keep my mind where it needs to be. And so I encourage anybody who's listening to this, who's feeling that way, you know, find something to be involved with, connect with someone, you know, if it's me, like, if you love sports, and you're like, you know, wow, this sounds really cool. And you want to come to an LA FC Game, you want to come to an indoor soccer game, or a women's game or anything that I'm involved in, reach out, and you know, we can introduce you to these worlds and, and give you something to maybe start a new passion for because I think at the end of the day, that's where you know, that's where mental health really lies is just trying to get your mind, right and finding reasons for you to feel good about yourself at the end of the day. And I'm too too busy at this point in my life, I think to go to a dark place. So I'm thankful for that. So I hope somebody maybe get something from that. And again, I'm always here, if anybody wants to talk and reach out, I've been involved in so many things from health care side, you know, to the sport side, military side. Yeah, I would love to help anybody if I could.

KP:

Amanda, I absolutely love it. And I gotta tell you that even during our conversation prior to this show, the one thing that I caught on about you is that you really embody the American soldier who is resilient, you have a lot of fight, you have a lot of focus. And one of the reasons why I started this podcast because I got tired of folks highlighting, you know, veterans who get involved with addiction and get involved with, you know, things that are lesser ideal with life. And I wanted to highlight our veterans who are out there. They're out there doing it, they're out there representing they're out there living life, they're out there winning. And I feel like a lot of times, they don't get the same recognition. But then also to I want folks out there who are doing that career transition to listen to folks like you who are successful with the transition utilize their time efficiently and effectively. And at the end of the show, I always tell people to stay tuned, stay focused and stay motivated. And that's exactly what you did during your military time. Utilize your time to get to your goals into where you wanted to go and this week Amanda Good luck I know our military communities can be rooting for you to win the ultimate NFL fan of the year and for anyone out there listening please add Amanda to your social media platforms and I really appreciate you giving us the time today

Unknown:

oh well no thank you so much for reaching out and allowing me to tell my story is incredible. I appreciate everything you're doing and yeah I hope that we can just like book in this week with like a nice little rams when you know LA needs it. Let's go. Ready? I can't wait I'm so excited. It's gonna be insane.

KP:

I can't remember were you in uniform company or Victor company in a it uniform, no slack uniform me to

Unknown:

No, no slack

KP:

uniform. So we'll finish off with that. And I want everyone out there to enjoy the Superbowl and make sure you're rooting for Amanda. Again, I want you to stay tuned, stay focused and stay motivated. Warriors fall out