ABC’s ‘Nashville’ gives combat soldier 2nd chance

ABC's 'Nashville' gives combat soldier 2nd chance (Image 1)

He's a two time combat veteran whose mission in life is helping wounded warriors.

But these days Melvin Kearney is better known for his work on the ABC television series, “Nashville.”

“Nashville gave me a second chance,” Kearney told Nashville's News 2.

Kearney served two tours in Iraq and lost several friends in combat.

“It could have been me several times,” said Kearney.

His experience on the battlefield inspired the North Carolina native to become an advocate for wounded warriors.

His work eventually led him to Tennessee where he met a photographer who thought he had a “look” and suggested he audition for the show “Nashville.”

“I said, ‘Let me send my photo to Nashville extras. Subject line, two time combat veteran with an award-winning smile, motivated,'” Kearney said he wrote.

With no agent and no acting experience, Kearney said he didn't think much of the email so he was shocked when he was called for an audition.

“Someone stopped me and said, “Hey, can you play the role of a bodyguard?' I said, ‘Are you asking me to do something I did in combat? No one's going to shoot at me?'” Of course I can,” said Kearney.

Kearney said a single phone call changed his life.

“I'm riding back to Murfreesboro ready to take care of some more soldiers and advocate for them and I got a phone call. ‘Melvin, this is ABC Nashville, I'll see you on set in a few days,'” the caller told Kearney.

The 30-year-old plays Bo, the bodyguard for rising country singer Juliette Barnes, played by Hayden Panettiere.

“She's like family and she always comes up to me on set like, ‘Hey Melvin, how's it going?' She's so full of energy,” said Kearney.

Kearney said he went from a few dozen Twitter followers to nearly 100,000 followers in a matter of months.

While he's proud of his role, he's more interested in inspiring other soldiers through his work on the show.

When he thinks back on those dark days in Iraq, Kearney remembers the advice his mother gave him before she died.

“She said, ‘Baby, you can choose to never have a bad day again. You can't control your circumstances or situations but you can control your attitude,'” Kearney recalled, adding, “I never forgot that.”
Kearney said he now has an agent and is taking acting lessons.

He doesn't know what's next but says one thing is certain, he will continue to advocate for wounded warriors.

Kearney can be seen in Wednesday night's episode of “Nashville” beginning at 9 p.m. on Nashville's News 2.

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