Organization Plans 'Valentines for Veterans' Concerts

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2009 - A nonprofit organization and officials from four Veterans Affairs hospitals joined forces to plan four free "Valentines for Veterans" concerts to show appreciation to veterans and their families.

"Our hope is that the concerts will boost awareness of local VA medical centers, increase understanding of the issues facing severely wounded veterans as well as their families, and encourage people to visit hospitalized veterans or consider volunteering at their local VA," Mike Lynch, executive director of Help Hospitalized Veterans, said.

The free concerts -- scheduled for four cities over three days, starting tomorrow -- are for veterans and their families only, Lynch said.

The concerts are part of National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Week, an official VA program that is celebrated at Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country. Formerly called No Greater Love Week, it dates back as far as 1978. The Valentines for Veterans concert series started in 2007, and was inspired by a love story between a severely wounded Iraq combat veteran and his wife.

Concert organizers met the young man and his wife on Valentine's Day 2006 when he was being treated at the VA medical facility in Prescott, Ariz. They were so compelled by the couple's story that they wanted to do something the following Valentine's Day to honor the two and all the young men and women who have been injured from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After the success of prior concerts and the overwhelmingly positive reception from veterans, their families and community members alike, concert organizers said they've have already begun looking to add additional cities across the United States for the 2010 series.

This year's concert schedule kicks off tomorrow in Tampa, Fla., where The Spinners and Little Anthony and the Imperials will perform at the Florida State Fairgrounds for an anticipated crowd of 5,000 veterans and family members.

Two concerts are scheduled Feb. 13. More than 1,000 people are expected to enjoy The Tams and The Embers at the Cultural and Civic Auditorium in Charleston, S.C. At the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, more than 800 people are expected to enjoy Little Anthony and the Imperials.

On Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, the concert series concludes in Prescott, Ariz., where about 1,500 people are expected to see Russell Thompkins Jr. and The New Stylistics at Yavapai College Performance Hall.

In addition to the Valentines for Veterans concerts, Help Hospitalized Veterans sponsors several other national events with VA, such as the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival and the National Veterans Golden Age Games.

For complimentary concert tickets and more information, contact Lovell Henderson at 216-701-6511.

*Related Sites:*
Help Hospitalized Veterans  [ ]
Organization Plans 'Valentines for Veterans' Concerts [ ]