On Friday, November 11, 2016, Last Honky Tonk Music Series and Dat Sauce, both based in Morgan City LA, hosted A Concert Of Light: A Night With The Veterans at the historic Beacon Theatre in Hopewell, VA. The concert was a special night of reverence and music, designed to raise money for the Military Assistance Program of R & DA, where one hundred percent of the funding goes to wounded service members and their families.
Chef Kern of Atlanta GA treated the Veterans, Artists and Sponsors to his famous Flaky Chicken, among other delights, before the show at an early Meet and Greet with the Performers. The concert began with a local Color Guard entering the building and all scheduled performing artists took to the stage and lead the crowd in singing the National Anthem. Retired LTC (US ARMY) Don Vtiipil, co-founded of the MAP Program, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Special performances were given by Last Honky Tonk Music Series Official Artists Leslie Tom, Mudbone, Daryl Wayne Dasher, Jill Kinsey, Brigitte London and Craig Gerdes. Songs written in honor of our military men and women were sung with passion and heart. Sportsbar Rockstar, a local Virginia rock band, closed out the night with an electrifying performance.
The highlight of the evening occurred when Mr. Vtipil called up five wounded servicemen from the audience he had invited under false pretenses, under the impression they were there to give a speech on their experiences in battle. Sergeant BJ Ganem of Wisconsin, Specialist Steven Iler of Florida, Corporal John Gentry of Virginia, Corporal Travis Davis of Maine, SFC Joe Swaboda of Maine were each presented a check for $5,000. The tears flowed as one by one, they told their stories of their struggles and triumphs. All attending Veterans were given a special Thank You Gift Bag, containing gifts from over 40 sponsors.
Scott Green, co-owner of D.a.T. SaUcE on the end right, holding up a special coin given to him by Don Vtipil.
“Days after the Concert of Light, I’m still in awe how a group of strangers came from around our Nation to band together to salute our Veterans and the wounded service members that were recognized, “ says Vtipil. “They all found their way to a little town in Virginia to pull off a concert that is still being talked about in the community. The Last Honky Tonk Music Series, Sportsbar Rockstar and all of our wonderful sponsors were outstanding. As I said that night, it was an event to watch magic happen as we presented five $5000 checks to each of the wounded service members that were invited to the event. What a great way to see the generous donations immediately put to work. There are a thousand people to thank but I trust that in your heart you know who you are. I can’t wait to do this again.”
Don Vtipil and Scott Green, co-owner of D.a.T. Sauce, met last year at a Food Show in Pennsylvania. Moved by Vtipil’s dedication to help our wounded veterans, Green created an online auction for a “Louisiana Experience” that raised $6000 for the MAP Program. Participating in the event were artists from the Last Honky Tonk Music Series, a historic nationwide roots music series that is nationally sponsored by D.a.T. SaUcE, headquartered in Morgan City LA. “The Series had been looking for a way to give back in a larger capacity, “ says Brigitte London, Official Artist and Founder of LHTMS. “Working with Scott Green, we came up with the idea to have A Concert of Light in Hopewell, VA, in Don Vtipil’s hometown and close to United States Army Post Fort Lee. We plan to do more of these concerts in the future and bring to light the plight of our wounded service men and women, and do all we can to help them. All of our Artists are fully dedicated to bringing healing and awareness through the power of music, every chance we get. ”
D.a.T. SaUcE will continue to support the MAP Program by making the Louisiana Experience Auction an annual event, in addition to participating in future Concert benefits.
“I believe when you give unconditionally, you get back, “ says Scott Green. “It was an honor to be apart of a group giving their time, money, and energy to help our soldiers that have gave so much for us and our freedom. Although we can never repay them for all they have done and sacrificed for us and our freedom, it warms my heart to be able to meet and help these soldiers in such hard times. I know these guys would do it again without question and without hesitation. Don Vtipil has put together an amazing program and I will always support him and the Military Assistance Program (MAP). Thank you to all who made this possible.”