CreatiVets has helped more than 1,000 combat Veterans since its founding in 2013 — with more than 400 Veterans participating in its songwriting programs to date. The organization’s utmost goal is to end Veteran suicide by offering alternative ways to cope with trauma, using the arts as a therapeutic cornerstone in the road to recovery. Serving as a connector for opportunities that magnify CreatiVets within the entertainment space since 2020, Big Machine Label Group continues to contribute to CreatiVets’ operational initiatives through Scott and Sandi Borchetta‘s Music Has Value Fund and Big Machine Music, which serves as the co-publisher for CreatiVets.
“I did what I did and I would do it again.I had not written a song before the CreatiVets program. Songwriting was a scary idea, but this program made it so much easier than I thought it would be. I hope other veterans who hear this song know that even if you have a diagnosis that is a death sentence, live life to the fullest and don’t dwell on what is going to happen. If you have a chance to work with CreatiVets, do It. It was such a great time.
-“I’m Gonna Go” Songwriter and Veteran, Clifford Rigney
“In the face of adversity, music becomes a beacon of hope. This song, born from a profound collaboration between a group of talented writers and a courageous veteran battling the devastating effects of blood cancer caused by Iraq’s burn pits, serves as a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit. It’s difficult to put into words the experience of sitting with Clifford as he shared the time he has left to live. Our mission that day was to create a song that would endure long after he’s gone. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to use my talents to honor and support the veterans who have fought to protect our freedoms.”
-Richard Casper, Songwriter/CreatiVets Co-Founder And Executive Director
With my love for Veterans (my father served heroically in World War 2) and my love for songwriting, CreatiVets was a no brainer for me. I have been so blessed writing with veterans like Clifford in this program. His terminal condition was a direct result of his service, yet he remained proud of his service with no regrets. This story was so compelling and inspiring. ‘I’m Gonna Go’ to me is a song of hope, sharing Clifford’s plans to live and savor every ounce of goodness in whatever time he has left, while also promising to be with his family even after he’s gone!”
-Robert Arthur, “I’m Gonna Go” Songwriter
Songwriters write every day, but sometimes you get the chance to write the story of someone sitting right in front of you. The feeling is visceral, it’s immediate, and you really want to get it right. When you see the reaction from the veteran, you are reminded of why music is so powerful, so intimate, and so important. I appreciate the journey of a veteran. In many cases, they did everything they were asked, under the guise that they’d be supported when it was all over. CreatiVets gives them that support. It doesn’t require public reading of a journal entry, or a letter, or some speaking arrangement. They just say: ‘Do you want to know how I feel? Press play.’”
-Kenny Foster, “I’m Gonna Go” Songwriter and Featured Artist