Ticket sales for this event ended Sun, Sep 15, 2013
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Gary Sinise and Lt Dan Band concert to “Rock The Citadel” at the Hagood Football Stadium, Sept 14th, 2013
(opening act 6pm, LTDB at 8:30pm)
Charleston, SC - The Citadel, in conjunction with the all volunteer military non-profit, The Independence Fund, will host Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band in a benefit concert at The Citadel's Hagood Stadium at 8:00pm on Saturday, Sept 14th, 2013. This will be the 5th time that Mr. Sinise will perform pro bono at a fundraiser for the veteran run Independence Fund, and his first time performing at The Citadel.
Official announcement was made by injured veteran and Combat Photographer and Bronze Star with Combat “V” recipient, Stacy Pearsall last night at a kickoff party and fundraiser for the event at The Citadel’s Pearson Lounge. “For a while after I came back from Iraq I felt that I was looking for a purpose and direction for my life,” said Pearsall in an emotional address to the event attendees. “Helping my fellow veterans heal has given me that purpose,” she concluded.
Mr. Sinise, widely known for his role of “Lt Dan” in the blockbuster film “Forrest Gump” is no stranger to the Lowcountry. "In 2011, I was in Charleston where I was the EmCee for the Medal of Honor Society at their Convention Gala. It was a privilege and I and look forward to playing a concert in Charleston with the intent to raise a lot of money and awareness for the good work The Independence Fund does on behalf of our wounded veterans,” he said in a recent statement.
Sinise first performed in the Lowcountry at the invitation of The Independence Fund at the Beaufort Shrimp Festival in 2010. "Bringing the Lt Dan Band this year to The Citadel gives us the opportunity to reach more veterans with our message of Independence, exposes us to a broader market and yet retains that unique charm and character that is so attractive to the Lowcountry from an outsiders perspective," said Independence Fund Board member, Jesse Acosta. Acosta, who was medically retired in 2010, was permanently blinded when a piece of shrapnel from a 120mm mortar ripped through his upper face.
"This was not an easy decision, nor was it a rash one for the board. We queried many veterans and without exception, all were excited at the prospect of closing the week at a great military institution like The Citadel,” Acosta continued. “We would not make such a move without Gary’s approval. That being said, we are deeply thankful for the support that Beaufort's citizens have given and hope Beaufort remains a strong component of LDW, but this is an opportunity to reach and help more veterans, which, after all, is the main mission of The Independence Fund."
Attending the Lt Dan Kickoff party was Mr. Charles Pollack, Chief Operation Officer of Longbow Medical, LLC. Mr. Pollack was so moved by the experience that he committed to donating 15% of Longbow’s net profits for Fiscal Year 2013 to The Independence Fund in support of their mission.
The concert will be the culminating event in what will consist of a full week of activities for 75-100 severely injured veterans and caregivers taking place at the Palm Key retreat on Knowles Island, SC. Fishing, Kayaking, yoga and various seminars ranging from how to manage the stressors of being a caregiver to how to invest in the stock market will fill the hours for these veterans and their supporters. If donations allow, The Independence Fund hopes to bring in an additional 75-100 severely injured veterans to Charleston for the final weekend at The Citadel.
"What is unique at this year’s retreat is that we will be able to tap into some of the educational tools and resources inherent to The Citadel and will be in a position to make this both the most fun and educational retreat for the veterans to date," said Palm Key proprietor, Judy Rigg.
Indeed, The Independence Fund's introduction to The Citadel this year comes as the result of the efforts of Charleston resident and decorated combat photojournalist, Stacy Pearsall. Pearsall herself taught a photography seminar at the Lt Dan retreat last year and will be receiving an honorary Doctorate degree from The Citadel this spring for the work she does assisting other veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"For many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, particularly those who have lost friends or are severely injured themselves, events like the Lt Dan Week fill a void and provides a sense of camaraderie that many veterans of previous conflicts did not receive," said Pearsall. "To have the week culminate with a Lt Dan Band concert at the Johnson Hagood Stadium is beyond what any of us ever imagined."
The event transcends the experience of not only those veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but all veterans and their families. “I really have wanted to tell you that LDW changed my dads last few years of life,” said Peggy Glasser, mother of a paralyzed soldier whom The Independence Fund provided a $25,000 mobility device several years ago. “Dad was a Korean War Veteran and always talked about how they were never thanked when they got home. I bought him a little $12.00 Korean War Veteran hat to wear to the concert and so many people came up to him and thanked him for his service. He was so taken back by this and at one point when a little girl came up to him at the concert and kissed him and said ‘thanks mister for your service,’ he broke down and cried. That little weekend changed his life.”
To date, The Independence Fund, a 501(c)3 organization authorized to operate in the State of South Carolina, has raised and distributed more than $2.1 million in goods and services to some of the most severely injured veterans from the War on Terror. Recently, Fox News contributors, Bill O’Reilly and Jennifer Griffin have teamed up in an effort to raise at least a half-million dollars for The Independence Fund’s mission of providing the tools, therapies and guidance for those veterans severely injured in the War on Terror that they are otherwise not receiving. Mr. O’Reilly’s announcement can be viewed here: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/index.html#http://video.foxnews.com/v/2338703322001/the-factors-excellent-adventure-to-washington-dc/?playlist_id=86923
More information on the Lt Dan Week is available at www.LDW4.org. Organizers hope to have online ticket sales available in the first week of May.