Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Concert at Belmont in East Franklin to show support for veterans

Louis B. Ruediger | Trib Total Media
A sign posted at the intersection of Market and Water streets in Kittanning advertises the 'Operation Bandage: Heal the Wounds' concert on July 11 at the Belmont Complex. Thursday, April 9, 2015.

To donate
Charitable contributions can be made to S & T Bank, Fifth Ave., Ford City, 16226 in c/o Operation Bandage.
For more information, emailoperationbandage@gmail.com.

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Monday, April 13, 2015, 2:26 a.m.
Planning is under way for an East Franklin summer concert with a cause — an event with a big-name performer that's sure to be a big hit with music fans who want to rally in support of veterans groups.
“Operation Bandage: Heal the Wounds” is planned for the Belmont Complex on July 11, featuring the The Clarks, Heffner & Hefner — a brother and sister jazz duo originally from Ford City, and several other local musicians.
“I'm excited about it,” said organizer Stephen Heffner of Ford City, brother of the jazz musicians playing at the event. “It will be good entertainment that will bring people out and is something that will help veterans.”
Members of local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and AMVETS' groups are hosting the concert. Tickets will sell for $20.
Proceeds from those sales will benefit the Armstrong Veterans' Alliance, Disabled American Veterans and Pennsylvania's Wounded Warriors.
To really be a success, though, corporate sponsors are needed to step up and pitch in, Heffner said. Six sponsorship categories based on monetary goals have been set up under the Patriotic Star Banner and the Band-Aid Banner categories.
Heffner hopes that on the day of the concert, the Belmont arena will be adorned with an abundance of banners displaying the names of those who showed monetary support.
“It's going to be like going to a USO production — with big banners hung over the stage, with netting, Army jeeps and with food vendors selling refreshments,” Heffner said.
Heffner came up with the idea last year after meeting with members from Armstrong County VFW posts. All four posts in Ford City, Sagamore, Parker and Freeport have to constantly come up with ways to raise money, he said.
“I thought, why not do something on a larger scale and band together,” Heffner said. “They agreed to take this thing on.”
His goal — as well as all those planning the event — is to let veterans know they are appreciated and have support.
Three of Heffner's brothers — James “Skip,” Stanley and Keith — all served during the Vietnam War. Heffner was still attending Ford City High School when his 19-year-old brother Keith was killed while serving.
Kathleen Rashlich of the Armstrong County Veterans Affairs Office said the event will be something new for the county. It will bring the community together and show veterans that they have local support, she said.
Daryl Ray, a member of the Ford City VFW, said he hopes the summer concert will be the first of many and hopes it will encourage more veterans to join organizations where they can find the help and support they need.
“We've got to get this off the ground,” he said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 orbbeatty@tribweb.com.

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