POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Poplar Bluff has again been chosen by the Department of Veterans Affairs as one of 17 locations across the country to host a free concert for veterans.
Country music singer Lee Greenwood, best known for his single "God Bless the USA," will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Black River Coliseum.
Tickets are available now at no charge, with a limit of two per person. Tickets were released last week to veterans only and are now available to everyone at the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce. Veterans can also continue to pick up tickets at John J. Pershing VA Medical Center.
"No admission will be charged to attend this concert for veterans, their families and the public because the price has already been paid for by the sacrifices of veterans," the VA said in a news release. "The concert is a fully sponsored event by Help Hospitalized Veterans and contributors in the community."
More than 30 local organizations will help provide funding for the concert.
It is important that communities remember to honor their veterans, said Edith Templemire, manager of Wappapello, Mo., VFW Post 3416, which is a sponsor of the concert.
"They need to see we appreciate what they've done," she said.
Chris Shrum, general manager of Luecke Distributing, another sponsor, agreed.
"Veterans live in our community and we want to recognize them and support them. We appreciate everything they have done and the sacrifices they make and have made," Shrum said, adding events like this also remind the community to take time to honor veterans.
Organizers hope they will be able to fill all 4,500 seats for the concert.
Greenwood, who will also visit the VA on the day of the concert, holds two Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association. "God Bless the USA," was the CMA Song of the Year in 1985.
About 2,500 people, including 1,000 veterans, attended last year's event, which featured singer Daryl Singletary.
These concerts are only available in a select number of the communities served by the 157 VAs.
They not only recognize veterans, but also serve as an outreach tool to provide veterans with more information about the eligibility and benefits available and make the public aware of opportunities to volunteer.
"First and foremost, this is about recognizing and appreciating veterans," said Angela Smith, the medical center's public affairs officer. "There are a lot of things that can be accomplished through this, but the most important thing is to appreciate their contribution."
Pershing provides primary care to veterans in 29 counties through Southeast Missouri and northeast Arkansas, serving each year nearly half of the 50,000 veterans in its service area.
Organizers also hope this event will encourage more members of the public to consider volunteering at the VA or visiting hospitalized veterans. Volunteers are needed to help with the concert as well, for instance to escort attendees to their seats, hand out roses or work the concession stand.
"We hope, with everyone's involvement, to make this event successful again and continue as an annual event," the VA said in a news release.
For more information about tickets, call 573-778-4414. For information on volunteering or making a donation, call 573-778-4151 extension 54275 or 1-888-557-8262 extension 54275 or 54276.
The Wappapello VFW will hold a chili supper and silent auction fundraiser for the event at 5 p.m. Jan. 21. It can be reached at 573-686-6955.
The concert included a great deal of planning and donations to make it a success, according to organizers, who would like to thank the various business and organizations that made contributions: Productive Staffing, First Midwest Bank, Sons of the American Legion Post 153, First Missouri State Bank, Poplar Bluff Federal Credit Union, Aaron's Rentals, American Legion (AL) Post 153, American Legion Post 153 Ladies Auxiliary, Wappapello Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3416, Clear 94 Radio, Luecke Distributing, Poplar Bluff Rotary Club, Ozark Border Cooperative, Briggs and Stratton, Mid Continent Nail, Elks Lodge 2452, Stinson Press, Duckett Truck Center, Holiday Inn, American Veterans Auxiliary (AMVETS) Post 29, Southern Bank, AL Post 59 Ladies Auxiliary, Poplar Bluff Kiwanis Club, Poplar Bluff Lions Club, Larry Hillis Dodge, The Rebecca's Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6477, Poplar Bluff Police Department, Butler County Sheriff's Department, Oriel's Auto Parts, Gift Chest Jewelers, The Bee Hive, Black River Coliseum and First Community Bank.
Poplar Bluff, Mo.