By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer
Though we’re only in May, the community (that means you and me) needs to start thinking about the 2nd Annual Lt. Dan Weekend to be held September 14-18, and we need to start donating our time and money…now.
Remember last year’s concert? Remember the camaraderie of the town when we welcomed and honored our wounded veterans? I was humbled and proud. It was a memorable weekend, and we have the opportunity now to make this year’s event better than ever.
There are a variety of ways to help. The Independence Fund needs $75,000 to bring the veterans and their families to Beaufort. That money won’t present itself on its own. The number one way to help right now is to donate.
Your tax deductible donation will be used to cover the expenses for the 100 severely injured veterans and caregivers attending LDW2 (www.LDW2.com) and to provide specialized recumbent tricycles for deserving heroes. Silver Star contributors who donate $100 or more will receive two free tickets to the Gary Sinise and Lt. Dan Band Benefit Concert taking place at Waterfront Park at 8:30pm, Friday, September 16th.
You can further help our severely wounded troops by setting up a personal fundraising page. It’s simple, takes ten minutes tops, and is a very effective way to help the troops. Simply visit this link: www.active.com/donate/indyfund and click on the BECOME A FUNDRAISER button at the top of the page and follow the steps. Whatever is raised via your personal page is tracked and will be credited to you. Top Fundraisers of $1000 or more will receive complimentary passes to the Lt. Dan Art opening and the number one fundraiser will have the opportunity to meet Gary Sinise backstage at the concert.
Another opportunity to help is fast approaching. Lowcountry Captain Nick Russell has designated the Independence Fund and the Lt. Dan weekend as beneficiary of all proceeds raised from the inaugural “American Wounded Veteran’s King Mackerel Fishing Tournament” scheduled to take place on 8-9 July.
Coinciding with the Beaufort Water Festival, the tournament offers the perfect opportunity for both local sport fisherman, and those visiting from out of town to participate in this event specifically designed to support some of the most severely injured veterans from the current wars.
“They fought for us, let’s fish for them,” said Russell, himself a Marine veteran and exuberant supporter of the troops.
Russell came up with the idea for a fishing tournament last year after serving as a volunteer during the Lt Dan Weekend (LDW) where he served as a “go to” point of contact for many of the veterans and their families.
Other events taking place during the Lt. Dan Weekend are the 4th Annual Wounded Warrior Run, presented by AMVETS, the Lt. Dan 5-K, and the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament at Parris Island. Please visit www.ldw2.com for more information regarding these events.
This year, the concert is not free. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at Cravings By the Bay, Chik-Fil-A, Berry Island Ice Cream, Fordham’s Market, NFCU (military) at Parris Island and Cat Island Pro Shop. They may also be purchased online at www.ldw2.com. From now until July 15, they are $15. From July 16-September 1, tickets will be $20 and after September 1, they will be available for full price at $25. If you are in the Military, admission is $5 off each of these prices.
Again this year, wristbands will be sold for $5 to show your support for our wounded veterans. It is the quickest way to donate to the cause and visibly show your pride for those who have sacrificed their bodies for the protection and freedom of our great nation. You may purchase them online at www.ldw2.com.
LDW2 is sure to be a super fun time again! The energy is positive. The buzz around town is contagious, and we will soon look these men and women in the face to say thank you and give them a great concert to boot!. May the Star and Stripes wave in your honor forever.
Entertainer Gary Sinise to return for the 2nd Annual Lt. Dan Weekend in Beaufort, SC
A sizable group of severely injured veterans and their caregivers from across the country will descend upon Beaufort for four days this September to participate in the 2nd Annual, Lt. Dan Weekend. Coordinated by the Independence Fund, the event is designed to bring the community together in a show of support for some of the veterans who most often are the ones who “fall through the cracks.”
Mr. Sinise, widely known for his Oscar nominated performance as “Lt. Dan” in the 1996 film Forrest Gump has become the de facto face for the war wounded of Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2003 his thirteen piece “Lt. Dan Band” has been entertaining the troops worldwide.
“The LTDB does more than forty concerts across the globe every year, and I am thrilled to be able to return to Beaufort to perform on September 16th, 2011,” said Sinise. “The reception that the Band received last year in Beaufort was overwhelming and the compassion and dignity with which the community treated our injured veterans truly left such a favorable impression. I look forward to both the concert and parade this year.”
The concert is scheduled for 8:30pm, Friday, Sept 16th in historic Waterfront Park. In addition, Mr. Sinise has also agreed to Grand Marshal Beaufort’s 300th Birthday parade the following morning. The parade will kick-off immediately following the Lt. Dan 5K in downtown Beaufort.
According to the Independence Fund’s founder, “The event will provide the opportunity for a myriad of organizations, caregivers, donors and concerned citizens to interact with these heroes in a personal manner that we believe will result in many other positive things. Having someone like Gary Sinise donate his time like this is probably the highest endorsement we could possibly receive.”
The Independence Fund is a 501(c)3 organization. Donations to the group are tax-deductible and help provide injured troops with the tools, therapies and guidance that they might not otherwise be receiving. Amongst other accomplishments, the Indy Fund www.independecefund.org has purchased 20 robotic wheel chairs for injured veterans as part of its mission. The $25,000 iBOT® chairs were not covered by military insurance policies.
Veterans injured post 9/11 with a disability rating of 30% or higher may apply for the all expense covered event by visiting www.ltdanweeeknd.com and registering on the “ABOUT” page.