Tour Takes Entertainment to Troops

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2007 - Operation Straight Up Tour is working to help military children and families become stronger through faith-based entertainment, its founder said.

"OSU Tour is an organization dedicated to helping our armed forces with the common issues brave men and women face," Jonathan Spinks said, referring to child rearing, troubled marriages, anger, depression, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. "We're addressing those things through entertainment."

OSU Tour is one of the newest members of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which connects citizens and corporations with members of the military and their families at home and abroad.. Spinks said he expects to include the America Supports You banner on stage during performances.

"Everything I've ever seen about the America Supports You organization is just great. Obviously (it's) got a great reputation," Spinks said, adding that America Supports You is an established organization that has been around long enough to add credibility to its member organizations.

The entertainment provided by OSU Tour is diverse and includes sports personalities, comedians, actors, and even the Flying Wallendas and their death-defying feats on the high wire. Those appearing on behalf of OSU Tour present wholesome, family-oriented entertainment that's also of interest to single men and women, Spinks said.

As a result of their personal experiences, the entertainers also are able to provide positive role models, he said, holding actor Stephen Baldwin up as one of those role models.

"Since God made a difference in his life, he's been very outspoken," Spinks said. "His life was going in one direction that was causing chaos and disruption in his life, and he just feels like God made those things better.

"So he (delivers) a simple message like that and tries to lend encouragement," Spinks added.

Since it's founding in August 2005, OSU Tour has taken its brand of entertainment to Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Hood, Texas. More shows are in the works, including at overseas venues.

"We obviously are very interested in going to Iraq," Spinks said. "They've been encouraging us to go to Germany, which we're also working on."

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