A Connecticut resident who starred alongside Bradley Cooper as himself in box office smash "American Sniper" is using the success of the film to help veteran causes.
Middlefield resident Kevin Lacz, a former Navy Seal sniper, befriended Chris Kyle, the sniper Bradley Cooper portrays in the film, while he was serving in Iraq. Clint Eastwood's film took in $105 million and is based on the true story of Kyle, now well known as the most lethal sniper in United States history.
"Him (Lacz) having all this success and doing what he's done with Navy Seals and so far with the movie's success, it's just been incredible," said Joe Branciforte, who has been close friends with Lacz since high school. "Nothing really surprises me when it comes to Kevin."
Kyle died in 2013 at the hands of a veteran he was trying to help. Branciforte said Lacz is continuing Kyle's work by supporting veteran causes.
"He wants to give of himself. He's not looking to benefit from this. He wants to take that success he has from his career in the Seals and the movie's success and put it towards veteran causes and help veterans," Branciforte said. "That was Chris Kyle's dream and now it's become Kevin's dream."
Lacz will be back in Connecticut in February, holding a charity reception and auction on Feb. 8. Connecticut Trees of Honor and the Chris Kyle Memorial Benefit and Auction are two charities that the event will benefit.
Branciforte said it doesn't surprise him that Lacz is giving back.
"Anything he can do to help vet causes...he's all about it," Branciforte said. "That's what his goal is now and what he wants to accomplish most."