Skynyrd brings Southern flavor to concert for troops
Lynyrd Skynyrd will headline an upcoming concert meant to thank those who keep Americans "free birds."
The Rockin' for the Troops concert is planned for July 22 at Geneva's Northwestern Medicine Field, home of the Kane County Cougars.
Jamie Nelson, executive director of Operation Support Our Troops, the volunteer non-profit organization hosting the concert, talked recently with Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, hosts of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
“They have a small music garden in the back, so we’ll start out back there," Nelson said. "A local group out of Skokie called the Empty Pockets will be playing. The opening ceremony starts at about 5:30 p.m. and Lynyrd Skynrd will kick off by 8:30 p.m. We’re closing out the night with a fantastic fireworks show.”
Men and women from all five branches of the military will be on hand to talk with concertgoers.
Operation Support Our Troops has shipped approximately 2 million tons of comfort and care packages to American service men and women for 14 years.
“We include a lot of food, like crackers, jelly and canned fruit," Nelson said. "We also include things like shampoo, body wash, razors, shaving cream ... and we ship sunscreen.
Over time, more programs have been added to support the troops.
“We have a free GI Yoga Program for veterans looking to do yoga with their families," Nelson said. "We also offer the Alan J. Lynch Veteran Assistance Program, which offers onetime grants to veterans in a financial crisis."
Their Leap of Faith Program allows families of the fallen to skydive with either a veteran or an active duty Golden Knight.
Nelson said the group will be collecting DVDs, CDs and iTunes gift cards at the concert for Christmas stocking stuffers.
“Last year we shipped 3,500 Christmas stockings to the troops deployed," Nelson said.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, best known for the hit songs "Free Bird," "Gimme Three Steps" and "Sweet Home Alabama," has been around since the mid-1960s.
For more information about tickets for the Rockin' for the Troops concert or the care packages, visit rockinforthetroops.org and www.osotamerica.org.