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Sound Off for Vets

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Stop the Madness

by John Roberts

I’m tired of it. I’m so tired of receiving phone calls and emails from family members devastated by the suicide of their loved one. Sons. Daughters. Husbands. I’m tired of it because I was almost one of those suicides. As a Wounded Warrior myself and someone who used to believe everyone’s life would be better without me in it, I take this issue personally.

The most recent report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reveals that 22 veterans take their own lives per day, or one suicide every 65 minutes — a 20 percent increase from 2007.

The suicide epidemic among active duty service members and veterans does not stem from one area alone, and there is not one simple fix, pill, or type of treatment to address all the complex issues the incredible servicemen and women now face.

Part of the blame lies squarely with the media and its portrayal of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It seems the only time this issue is given credence is when the story is sensational enough to garner ratings. Yet, close to half a million returning service members struggle every day with the symptoms of combat stress, survivor’s guilt, or PTSD. We are not “damaged goods.” We are Wounded Warriors; human beings experiencing a natural reaction to unnatural situations. Like everyone else, we have our ups and downs and strive to live our best life.

Every day we see young men and women with families completing multiple combat tours with very little downtime in between deployments. When they do return home, they are faced with the growing fear — often times driven by media — of how those facing the challenge of PTSD can be detrimental to the workplace and their communities. They struggle not to let their families, friends, and battle buddies down, when in reality those people are their greatest supporters. Most of us mistakenly believe that confusion, depression, and guilt are weaknesses and personal failings.

With 34,000 more men and women getting ready to end their campaign in Afghanistan, the work on the home front to help these warriors in the reintegration process will only become tougher. Yet, we know the current landscape — a complete lack of sufficient mental healthcare providers in the VA, geographical challenges for warriors not near a VA facility, and an overall system ill-prepared for the number of veterans seeking effective treatment.

As executive vice president for Warrior Relations at Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), it is my hope to raise awareness for the multitude of issues these incredible individuals face, in hope that a real impact can take place. Earlier this year, WWP presented its legislative priorities on Capitol Hill, pressing for a collaborative effort by the VA, Department of Defense, the House and Senate Committees, as well as the Executive Branch, to ensure Wounded Warriors successfully transition to civilian life. We urged the closing of gaps to improve mental healthcare of warriors and their families while helping to ensure access to optimal, long-term rehabilitative care for severely Wounded Warriors, and needed support for their caregivers. The VA cannot do this alone and must start to use the available community resources to implement meaningful and effective change.

We are not simply offering solutions — we are also taking action. Over the next six months, WWP will launch several pilot programs, including peer-facilitated support groups, a unique telephone helpline providing non-clinical, emotional support for Wounded Warriors, and an insurance program that will provide private mental health services.

We know PTSD and other war-related mental health conditions can be successfully treated. It is my hope that we, as a nation, start to take this seriously — that we stop repeating mistakes from the past. If you can help a warrior or their family, please take the first step. If you cannot personally help, please support those who are and urge our leaders at the local, regional, and national level to put aside parochial interests and take the lead. Help us prevent them from falling through the cracks and being forgotten. This is a problem for all of us, and together we can help those who served our nation.

~

John Roberts is the Executive Vice President of Warrior Relations for the W.W.P.

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Videos from 2012 Event

by Sound Off for Vets

Video of the 2012 Sound Off for Vets concert on May 19th was captured by Tim Dyer of DyersWorld.com, who provided his excellent services free of charge for the event. Below we’ve embedded one video from each of the four performing artists with links to more HD videos at Vimeo.com.

 

Chris Nelson

“Uh-Oh” at Vimeo

More by Chris Nelson
All Alone
Go It Alone

Michael Anthony Smith and the Dirty Thieving Gypsies

“Innocent Bystander” at Vimeo

More by Michael Anthony Smith and the Dirty Thieving Gypsies
Please Come Home
Perfect

Rhyne McCormick

“Secret” at Vimeo

More by Rhyne McCormick
Soul Bus
Ice Cream Man
Walking In Memphis

Shift Seven featuring Meeka

“Shared Lives” at Vimeo

More by Shift Seven
Avalanche
Land of Giants
Black Cloud

~

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Chris Nelson Interview with The Peverett Phile

 
Recently, Sound Off for Vets organizer was interviewed by the blog Peverett Phile about this concert series.

Peverett Phile: Hello, Chris, welcome back to the Phile. So, how have you been?

Chris Nelson: I’ve been recovering from the flu, but other than that, I’m okay.

PPh: Since you were here I have had Tish Meeks from 3 Kisses back on the Phile. She’s the one who introduced me to you. Have you heard from her recently?

CN: I’ve followed her postings on Facebook, but I haven’t really communicated with her much. She moved up to Alaska, but I think she wants to move back. I understand she’s working on a new band or project or something. I’ll have to go read the interview on the Phile.

PPh: You’re based in Pennsylvania, right? My wife is from the Mechanicsburg area. What part of Pennsylvania are you from?

CN: Lebanon, which is about 30 miles to the east of Mechanicsburg.

PPh: Do you still live there, Chris?

CN: This will be my home for quite a while, I’m sure.

PPh: Last time you were here you were plugging your The Invisible Man CD. Have you been working on any new music?

CN: I’ve been doing a lot of writing and I have enough material for a new album, but it may be a while until I record anything. I’m currently working on putting together a complilation of recordings that I made from 1986 to 2005. I’ve gone back into the archives and have been remixing, retooling, and in some cases, re-recording portions of these tracks for the release. I’m about three fourths of the way through it. It will be called Fish Stories: 1986-2005 and I hope to have it done around the end of the year. I’d also like to mention that “In Praise Of Failure”, a song from The Invisible Man was recognized as one of the top five songs of 2011 by DAMES of PA.

PPh: Nice, well done. Okay, let’s talk about Sound Off For Vets. For those that don’t know, explain what that is.

CN: Sound Off for Vets is a free benefit concert put on by local musicians in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. We sell raffle tickets on prizes that have been contributed by community members, clubs, and businesses and we also have some items that sell to raise additional money. There’s a ‘tip jar’ that we have placed near the stage area and two more that are located around the concert site where people can put in whatever they want to. Basically, it’s an outdoor party to entice people into making a contribution while giving them something to listen to.

PPh: The last benefit Sound Off For Vets was on Nov, 11th, 2011. How much did you raise, Chris?

CN: About $1,111 before expenses were paid.

PPh: That’s a helluva coincidence. You must’ve been surprised and slightly suspicious that was the amount you arranged. Am I right?

CN: Well, that whole event was a surprise. My friend Ric Albano… who has a thing about numbers… knew the guy who owns Champions Sports Bar and Grill in Highspire, where the event was held. The idea was to do something special for Veterans’ Day. I was supposed to play, but I had to back out at the last minute. They drew quite a crowd, from what I heard. They also got a lot of clothing donations to go to the YWCA’s homeless veterans program. I’d say it was a huge success, overall.

PPh: What exactly is the Wounded Warriors Project, Chris?

CN: WWP assists those combat-wounded veterans from the recent conflicts to deal with their disabilities. Sometimes its helping with overcoming physical disability, other times it’s mental health counseling for deailing with the stress of living in a combat environment, some need assistance with job training and placement. There’s a lot of services that they provide our wounded veterans. They have a complex near Jacksonville, Florida where they do most of their training and counseling.

PPh: How did you come to be a part of all this? You founded Sound Off For Vets, right?

CN: Yes. It all started when I was sent to cover a military funeral of an Army Lieutenant out of the Scranton area when I worked for the Pennsylvania Office of Veterans Affairs. He was a victim of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. As I spoke with those who know him, I found out that he had been a musician and also played all the instruments on his records, although he perferred jazz. The point was, this could have been me a few years ago when I was still in the service. I had wanted to do something to give back to the military ever since I retired, but I didn’t know what I could do. After the funeral experience, I really felt motivated to do something and started to explore different options. A friend of mine from Pittsburgh began organizing his “Pennsylvania Hero Walk” where a group of people walk from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh over the course of a few months to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. I’ve always wanted to do something like this with my music, since it’s something I’m quite passionate about. I decided to make Sound Off an extension of the PA Hero Walk in 2010 and planned to hold it during the week when they were passing through Harrisburg. We held it on the deck of the Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat overlooking the shore. We drew a pretty good size crowd for a Thursday. The following year, we decided to hold it during Armed Forces Day, since it sort of fit with that theme. We raised close to $500 that day.

PPh: Were you in the military at all?

CN: Yes, I was in the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 2004 and retired as an E-7 after 21 years.

PPh: So, how is this years event different from the last one, Chris?

CN: It’s a little shorter since we have to clear out for the Harrisburg Senators baseball game scheduled for later that evening. Everything will have to be done by 4 pm to give time for the Army helicopters to take off. We will, however, be occupying the main stage, so we will be able to get more people’s attention that way. This year, we’re located in the center of all the activity. In years past, we were near the riverfront area. People didn’t always know about us since the acoustics there swallow up the sound.

PPh: Will it be at the same place?

CN: Yes, on City Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

PPh: So, why do another one so soon after the last event?

CN: The actual Sound Off for Vets happens every Spring. The first one was June 2010 and last year, we did it in May of 2011. The November event, Sound Off for Veterans Day was a special event for the year. Ric was intrigued by the 11.11.11 date and wanted to do something special. I haven’t heard from him about if there will be another one for this Veterans Day.

PPh: Hey, maybe one year you can have Foghat play there… or not. LOL. How often are you gonna be doing these benefits, Chris?

CN: Is Foghat still around?

PPh: Yeah, believe it or not.

CN: I am trying to make this a recognized annual event that will be associated with the city of Harrisburg. Even after all our troops are back home from overseas, many of them are going to be needing assistance with their injuries for years to come… in some cases, for the rest of their lives. We can’t forget the sacrifices these people have made. I’m glad we have organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project to help.

PPh: Who are some of the bands and acts who will be performing there this year with you this time? If any of them would like to be on the Phile, please let me know. I’d love to have them.

CN: I’ll pass along your information to them. We currently have Rhyne McCormick, Shift Seven, and Michael Anthony Smith and the Dirty, Thieving Gypsies… and me. Mike Smith and Shift Seven have played here before; in fact, Shift Seven was one of the bands in the first show. This year, all the acts have strong military connections. Rhyne McCormick and myself are both U.S. Air Force veterans and both Michael Anthony Smith and Shift Seven have relatives in the military.

PPh: Chris, so, what’s next for you?

CN: Besides working on the retrospective album I mentioned earlier, I’m also going to be publishing my first science fiction novel on Amazon in a few weeks. I also plan to start recording, but I’m not sure when that will happen yet.

PPh: Thanks for taking time out to do this interview. I know you must be busy getting everything organized, sir. Please come back soon when you are gonna do the next one, or your next album. Where can they purchase your music?

CN: Go to my website chrisnelsonband.com and click on ‘CDs.” That will take you to the CD Baby page. They’re also available through Apple iTunes, Rhapsody, and a whole bunch of other online distributors.

PPhh: All the best, good luck and maybe you can raise $5,1912. That would be way too weird, right?

CN: Weird, but in a cool sort of way! Our goal for this year is to raise $1000. If we exceed that, I will be very, very happy!

PPh: Take care and good job.

CN: Thanks for having me on your blog!

~
Published 04/29/12 at http://thepeverettphile.blogspot.com

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2012 Contributors

by Sound Off for Vets

Below is the current list of items and services which have been donated to the 2012 Sound Off Event on Saturday, May 19th at City Island, Harrisburg, PA.

Last updated 05/12/12

Item Donor Further Information
$200 Cash Donation United Water Harrisburg UnitedWater.org
$200 Cash Donation VFW Post 882, Marysville
$100 Cash Donation Hoffman Ford HoffmanFord.com
T-Shirt and $50 Cash Donation Creter’s Guitar Shop CreterGuitarShop.com
$50 Cash Donation Fredricksburg Eagle Hotel FredericksburgEagleHotel.com
2 $50 Gift Cards Ultimate Wash & Lube UltimatePA.com
8 Box Seat Vouchers Harrisburg Senators SenatorsBaseball.com
4 Museum Tickets Antique Auto Museum AACAMuseum.org
2 “Epic Buffet” Coupons Hollywood Casino HollywoodPNRC.com
1 LB Homemade Chocolate Wertz’s Candies WertzCandy.com
25 ‘Moe’ Bucks Moe’s Southwestern Grill Moes.com
$25 Gift Card Bass Pro Shops Harrisburg BassPro.com
“Growler” Decanter Appalachian Brewing Company ABCBrew.com
4 Free Games of Golf City Island Water Golf H2OGolf.com
Custom Gift Baskets Colleen Washinger
Videography Service Dyer’s World Video DyersWorld.com
Professional Sound Voyager Music VoyagerMusic.net
Drum Set for Performance Dale’s Drum Shop DalesDrumShop.com
Advertising Space Pennsylvania Musician Magazine PAMusician.net
Website Design & Maintenance 33 Dimensions LLC 33Dimensions.com

If you’d care to make a contribution or donation, please contact Chris Nelson nelsoncl36@hotmail.com.

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Benefit Brings In $1111.00

by Ric Albano

Sound Off for Veteran's Day Logo

We had an incredible time on Friday, November 11th at Champion’s in Highspire for the Wounded Warrior Benefit Concert. Absolutely everyone involved was pleasant, upbeat, and helpful and the show could not have gone smoother.

When my wife Karyn and I tallied up the all the donations including the door cover, raffle, cash contributions, CD sales by participating musicians, and business and online monetary donations we found that this single event had brought in $1,103. Well, we instantly shook the sofa to scrape up an additional eight bucks to bring that total to $1,111, which fits perfectly with the unique date of this event. We did have some expenses which worked out to be about 27% of this gross amount, still leaving a healthy amount to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project through the Sound Off for Vets charity. Beyond this, about 6 bags of clothes were donated for the YWCA Homeless Vets Clothing Drive.

This event could not have been a success without the incredible time and effort of so many people, who I’d like to thank here.


First and foremost, thank you to all the Veterans past and present who do more for us as American citizens than any other group.


Thanks to the musical artists who all put on incredible and entertaining performances:

Mycenea Worley

The Group “Meeka” – Romeeka Gayhart, Terry Gayhart, Drew Washington, Wyatt Latimer, and the keyboard player whose name we did not get (sorry, but thank you)

Carmen Magro’s Band – Carmen Magro, Chuck Scarpello, Mark Burkert, Rob DiSimone, Dave Murphy, and Steve Sauer

Hot Wing Jones – Steve Montressor, Andy Shemeta, Anthony Pepoli, and Corey Woodcock

I ‘d like to add a special thanks to the guys in Hot Wing Jones, who were the first to arrive, the last to leave, and donated equipment for all the artists to use.

Also, thanks to DJ Kai who provided incredible video during the musical performances as well as entertainment between sets.


Thank you to those who offered support for the event:

Chris Hicks, sound man from Voyager Music

Tim Dyer, videographer who shot about 5 hours of footage and enlisted our event in the international One Day on Earth program so we will be seen all over the world

Chris Nelson, founder of Sound Off for Vets who elicited donations for our raffle

Karyn Albano, my lovely wife who organized and operated the raffle

Rebecca Smith-Witmer, volunteer who helped at the door


Thank you to all the people and businesses that donated merchandise, gift certificates, advertising, and/or money to the cause:

Champions Sports Bar
United Water
Fredricksburg Eagle Hotel
Antique Auto Museum
Civil War Museum
Farmer’s Hope Inn
Hollywood Casino
The Porch Restaurant
Adventure Sports
LB Smith Ford-Lincoln
Ultimate Lube and Wash
Classic Rock Review
DAMES of PA
Susquehanna Entertainment
Jim Hammond
Deborah Delgado
Kathi Guliano

Plus, there were many more good people who made anonymous cash donations at the event.


Thanks to everyone at Champion’s who were incredibly helpful and pleasant through this whole process starting with Jason Naugle and Virginia Taylor (whose birthday was also on 11/11) and all the servers, staff, and security personnel.


Last but not least, thank you to everyone who showed up last night, added to the celebratory atmosphere, and were very generous in donating to our cause.

If you were unable to make this event but would like to make a donation, you can still do so by pressing either of the “Donate” buttons on top or to the left of this page.

Ric Albano
Organizer, Sound Off for Veteran’s Day

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Lineup Set for Veteran’s Day Show

by Sound Off for Vets

The lineup of artists for the Sound Off for Veteran’s Day benefit has been set. The show will take place at Champion’s Sports Bar in Highspire, PA on Friday, November 11th.

Mycenea Worley
 9:00 pm Mycenea Worley
Harrisburg, PA
Artist Profile

Meeka
 9:45 pm Meeka
Lebanon, PA
Artist Profile

Carmen Magro
10:45 pm Carmen Magro
Philadelphia, PA
Artist Profile

HotWingJones
12:00 am Hot Wing Jones
Harrisburg, PA
Artist Profile

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List of Donated Items

Raffle Contributions

Below is the current list of items which were raffled off at the Sound Off for Veteran’s Day benefit on Friday, Novemeber 11th. The event was held at Champion’s Sports Bar in Highspire, PA.

Last updated 11/12/11

Item Donor Further Information
American Flag Stool Deborah Delgado  
4 Museum Tickets Antique Auto Museum www.aacamuseum.org
2 Buffet Coupons Hollywood Casino www.hollywoodpnrc.com
$25 Gift Certificate The Porch Restaurant www.porchrestaurant.com
Die-Cast Ford Truck Model L.B. Smith Ford & Mercury www.lbsmithford.com
2 Gift Cards Ultimate Lube and Wash www.ultimatepa.com
$25 Gift Certificate Farmer’s Hope Inn www.farmershopeinn.com
2 Sets of Event Tickets Adventure Sports in Hershey www.adventurehershey.com
Family Pass Civil War Museum www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org
Yamaha Keyboard Classic Rock Review www.classicrockreview.com
Tequila Package DAMES of PA www.damesofpa.com

If you’d care to make a contribution, please contact Chris Nelson nelsoncl36@hotmail.com.

Monetary Donations

Amount Donor Further Information
 $ 100 United Water www.unitedwater.com
 $ 100 Champions Sports Bar championssportsbar.net
  $ 50 Fredericksburg Eagle Hotel www.fredericksburgeaglehotel.com
  $ 20 Carmen Magro www.carmenmagro.com
  $ 10 Hot Wing Jones  
   $ 5 Kathi Guliano  

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One Day On Earth, 11.11.11

On Day On Earth, 11/11/11
Tim Dyer, the videographer for Sound Off for Veteran’s Day, will be sharing footage from the event with One Day On Earth.

On November 11th, 11.11.11, across the planet, documentary filmmakers, students, and other inspired citizens will record the human experience over a 24-hour period and contribute their voice to this second annual global day of media creation. One Day on Earth‘s first media creation event occurred on 10.10.10. The collaboration was the first ever simultaneous filming event occuring in every country of the world. It created a unique geo-tagged video archive as well as an upcoming feature film.

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Meeka

Romeeka GayhartThe band Meeka consists of singer/songwriters Romeeka Gayhart and Terry Gayhart. This daughter/father duo have been writing and performing since Romeeka’s childhood days. She makes quite an impact with her unique presence,voice and lyric content. The collaboration between the two guarantees an eclectic mix of styles.

Filling out the rhythm section are Wyatt Latimer on drums and Drew Washington on bass. The band is honored to donate a performance to the Sound Off for Veteran’s Day cause. Terry is a member of the original rock outfit Shift Seven who have performed for this Wounded Warrior Project for the last two years. This year it wasn’t possible so “Meeka” was asked to step in.

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Mycenea Worley

Mycenea Worley
Mycenea Worley is a singer/songwriter who regularly plays clubs, festivals, and benefits throughout central Pennsylvania. Her performances usually feature a nice blend of original songs, popular covers, and covers done with her unique arrangement, and always feature her enthusiastic smile, friendly demeanor, and outgoing personality.

She sings from the depths of her heart and soul and the music itself slightly deviates from her upbeat and outgoing persona. It heartfelt with a bit of a bent towards the folk rock edge. Mycenea released her debut, five-song EP titled Love in 2009, an enjoyable showcase of Mycenea’s songwriting talent and range. Material for a follow-up album is currently being recorded and should be out in the coming year.

In 2009 and 2010, Mycenea Worley was voted “Best Female Vocalist” at the 717 Music Awards, a testament to her brilliant talent. Further, Mycenea has donated her talents to each of the City Island Sound Off events and we look forward to her performance at Sound Off for Veteran’s Day.

   

Modern Rock Review Profile of Mycenea

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