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Former airman scores big for charity at auction

Feb. 1, 2013 - 03:00PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 1, 2013 - 03:00PM  |  
Former airman Scott Elrod encourages the audience to bid during the ‘An Officer and an Auction' event at the Embassy of Austria. Dates with current and former service members were auctioned off to benefit the GI Film Festival at the Jan. 31 event.
Former airman Scott Elrod encourages the audience to bid during the ‘An Officer and an Auction' event at the Embassy of Austria. Dates with current and former service members were auctioned off to benefit the GI Film Festival at the Jan. 31 event. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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Turns out, the Air Force can produce the most eligible bachelors.

Scott Elrod, an actor and former senior airman, was auctioned off Thursday for $1,700, the top price at the GI Film Festival's bachelor auction event at the Austrian Embassy in Washington. Elrod, 37, was so in demand that he agreed to go on two separate dates with two separate women for $1,700 each — raising a total of $3,400 for the film festival.

That's more than the 12 service members from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps combined. They raised $3,350.

The GI Film Festival is a nonprofit that hosts an annual festival to showcase films that focus on the heroism and sacrifices made by troops. The festival is opened to filmmakers of all levels, and prizes are awarded for the best feature, documentary and film short, according to the nonprofit's website.

Elrod participated in the auction because both the military and film are "close to his heart." He served in the Air Force for six years as an air traffic controller, according to his bio, and is now an actor in Los Angeles with film credits including "Argo" and "The Switch." He also just finished filming "Lone Survivor," a flick about SEAL Team 10's failed 2008 attempt to capture Taliban leader Admad Shad.

"If [military film] is done properly, it's a great vehicle and raises a lot of awareness," Elrod said. "There are so many people who don't understand the sacrifices service members make, and film and TV get it out there."

The auction portion of the event raised almost $7,000 for the 2013 GI Film Festival, scheduled for May.

Marine Sgt. Jack Eubanks, who raised $150 from one lucky lady, participated in the auction as a way to give back to the festival. He will have at least one film in the 2013 festival, a documentary about the festival itself and how it helped him earn a drama scholarship to Vassar College.

Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Chiang, a Navy reservist, raised $200 for the film festival, which he believes tells important stories often not told in mainstream film, where military members are always portrayed as heroes but the hardships are often left out.

"I think it's good to balance that with their stories, and some stuff I've been through too, about sacrifice, duty and how much they miss family," he said.

While many wore sharp suits or dress uniforms, one bachelor stood out — in American-flag pants. When the bidding slowed on Army Capt. Keith Toy, he dropped down and started doing pushups after stripping off his jacket, eliciting shouts from the women in the audience and another flurry of bids, maxing out at $350.

Other active-duty participants included Army Capt. Steve Casares, Army Maj. Conrad Jakubow, Army Maj. Art Moore and Navy Cmdr. David Blackwood.

Former military men also participated, including Army Lt. Col. Kurt Andersen, Army Sgt. David Fernandez, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class Tim Vieregge, Marine Sgt. Matt Webb and Marine Cpl. Wade Spann.

All bachelors will take their dates out sometime in the next month for a dinner donated by local restaurants including Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya, all owned by Spanish chef Jose Andres.

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