Andy Buchanan was watching television with his wife, Barbara, one night a few years back and a commercial for The Wounded Warriors Project came on.
“We had talked about wanting to do something for veterans for awhile and when we saw the commercial we said, ‘That’s it.’,” Buchanan recalled. He felt a strong connection to the organization, even though he did not know any wounded warriors personally. “I just think an organization like this is really important and I was impacted by the courage that the soldiers displayed.”
The Wounded Warrior Project’s purpose is to raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured service members aid and assist each other and to provide unique programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members. Fayette County has been connected with the Wounded Warrior Project for several years, with the largest connection being the first All-American 5K on Memorial Day weekend in 2010 which raised money for Lt. Dan Berschinski’s fund. Berschinski, who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2009, has been very active with other wounded soldiers and has helped raise awareness in the area.
Buchanan, a member of the Southern/Country Rock band Big Jake, started talking with some of his friends about staging a concert. The initial thought was to do a show at a club but the idea continued to gain support and grow. The Warriors Concert will now take place Sept. 8 at The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater and will feature six bands, as well as the Bennett’s Mill Middle School chorus and band/orchestra.
“We connected with Patti Davis and Ricky Williams at Bennett’s Mill and John Kontos, who knew some of the other bands playing. All the bands are playing for free,” Buchanan said, adding that they are getting good deals from others associated with the show because of the cause. Others involved in the initial planning stages included Heather Kontos and Sandy Maupin. Ric O’Brien, 2012 Wounded Warrior Project “Carry Forward” award winner, is the group’s liaison.
The concert has secured enough sponsorships that all ticket sales, aside from minimal fees, will go directly to the Wounded Warriors project. There are 2,200 seats at “The Fred” and Buchanan hopes to fill them all.
The draw, aside from what is a great cause that is easy for everyone to get behind, is the six bands playing 40 minute sets starting at 6 p.m. The Bennett’s Mill Chorus, Band and Orchestra will open the show with “The Star Spangled Banner,” as the colors will be presented by a Marine Corps Color Guard and will conclude with a 2-pass fly-over by The Army Aviation Heritage Foundation with a Huey and a Cobra helicopter, followed by a performance of “God Bless America.”
After that it will be performances from The FlyCats (Jazz), Big Jake, and rock bands Lights Out, Leadfoot, The Final Answer Band and Gravity.
There will also be some speeches between some of the acts from some of the Wounded Warriors as well as others.
The word has started getting out about the concert and excitement is building. Posters are going up, tickets and sponsorships are selling and Buchanan is getting more and more excited as the concert date nears. He has found many people and organizations willing to help. For instance, Shane’s Rib Shack is going to provide a dinner backstage for some Wounded Warriors before the show and Uncle Rich from 92.5FM The Bear will be the show’s MC.
Tickets are $15 for lawn seats, $18.50 for general admission and $150 for picnic tables which seat six people. Tables down front will be reserved for wounded warriors and sponsors of $1,000 or more. Children ages 6 and under will be admitted for free. Tickets can be purchased at The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater box office or at ticketalternative.com.
For more information, visit thewarriorsconcert.org.