POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Tickets are available to current and former members of the armed forces for this year's free Valentines for Veterans concert featuring country music singer Aaron Tippin on Feb. 15 at the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff.
Tickets became available to the public Sunday.
The concert series is sponsored by the Veterans Administration with the help of community partnerships.
Among those supporters in the Poplar Bluff area is the Wake Foundation, a charitable organization that supports outdoor rehabilitative programs for veterans.
The foundation was started by retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Wake, who was injured in 2004 when a bomb exploded at an Iraqi police station. Wake received 150 pieces of shrapnel in his body and damage to his face, right ear and left knee.
The concert series offers a way to recognize veterans, and is especially important for those who may feel like they've been forgotten, said Wake, who recently moved to the Wappapello Lake area from Malden, Mo.
This is the third consecutive year the concert has been held in Poplar Bluff.
"We need more people who step up to the plate and continue to better the lives of our veterans, to show we do care about your service and what you've done. That's what this is all about," Wake said. "The veterans and their families enjoy the concert so much; it's a wonderful thing."
The evening includes moments when members of each branch of service are recognized, and when the anthems from each branch of service are played, according to Paul Schuerenberg, John J. Pershing VA Medical Center vocational rehabilitation specialist. The medical facility helps sponsor the concert.
"For a lot of people, this is one of the few social events they attend," Schuerenberg said. "There is a lot of emotion."
Veterans may visit the medical center to obtain tickets, or call the ticket reservation line at 573-778-4414.
Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with four priorities of distribution: Gold Star family members (those who have lost a family member in service), veterans, families of veterans and the general public. Tickets are limited to two per person. Members of the public may pick tickets up beginning today at the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce.
The VA is seeking volunteers, businesses and veterans service organizations to assist with time and donations. Donations will be used for lighting, sound, hotels and lodging, meals for the entertainer, transportation, ticketing, advertising, security and labor costs associated with the event. Interested individuals or organizations can contact concert coordinator Michael Dobbs at 573-778-4058.
Aaron Tippin boasts five certified gold albums, one platinum and three No. 1 hits. Many in the music industry have dubbed the tireless South Carolinian as the "Hillbilly Hercules." Tippin's hits include "My Blue Angel," "That's As Close As I'll Get to Loving You" and "I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way." He also is a successful songwriter for artists such as Garth Brooks, Charley Pride, Kenny Chesney and others.
Black River Coliseum, Poplar Bluff, Mo.