MEET ANNIE NELSON
Leading Inspirational Speaker
A Minnesota native, Annie Nelson spent time in Chicago before moving to California in 1974. She received a Theatre Arts scholarship to California State University, Long Beach, and studied at the American Film Institute. Having come from a family with a sports background, she found a niche in sports broadcasting and special events.
A pen pal friendship with a severely wounded Marine led to an epiphany for Annie, changing her life forever. In 2004, Annie dedicated her life to raising awareness for U.S. veterans of all eras, founding the American Soldier Network (ASN).
She knows firsthand what it means to live with post-traumatic stress. In 1994, while working as a flight attendant, Annie was physically attacked by two male passengers during a flight, which left her with a broken back and a lifetime of back pain with many required procedures. A career change, new callings, and a new journey followed. She survived six separate concussions and a massive, life-threatening brain tumor. The surgery to remove that tumor in 2010 took 10-1/2 hours and left her deaf in her right ear. She spent the next two years relearning how to walk and talk and finding ways to cope with her new reality. In the summer of 2018, she was diagnosed with a second brain tumor and underwent gamma knife radiosurgery to remove it.
Annie relates to our nation’s heroes and many others through her own real-life battles. She has walked the walk, and her inspirational talks ignite a flame of hope in all who hear her. Her passion and drive have drawn movie/TV stars, government official, and celebrated sports figures to join her crusade. Thanks to Annie, they donate their time and energy here at home for our heroes deployed around the world and for veterans who have returned. Annie's two dogs, Eddy and Hazel, both Rhodesian Ridgebacks, are partners in her mission. Their keen nonverbal communication skills bring a comfort that can’t be defined. Veterans truly love Eddy and Hazel—they’ve become rock stars on the ASN circuit.
American Soldier Network is a 501(c)(3) charity based in Southern California, with marketing efforts extending across the USA.
Annie is creator of the TV series American Heroes and a columnist for U.S Veterans Magazine. In 2018, her American Soldier Network created and launched RuckUp.org, a website offering indispensable resources for military, veterans and caregivers in the fight against suicide!