Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
Valentines for Veterans Concert
In February of each year, VA Medical Centers across the country hold a weeklong, National Salute to Veterans with special activities. This year, the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center was one of 17 facilities selected to host a Valentines for Veterans Concert.
Country music singer and Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame Inductee Lorrie Morgan headlined a free concert for Veterans, their families and the local community Feb. 17 at the Muskogee Civic Center.
“It’s was great for Lorrie to come and visit all of us Veterans,” said Dan Armer, U.S. Air Force Veteran and VA employee. “She sounds better than ever. It was really great that she came back after the snow last week.”
The concert was scheduled to take place Feb. 10, but the medical center rescheduled it for Feb. 17 due to the record snow. With warmer weather and the snow melted away, an estimated 1725 people turned out for the concert.
Harold Goodwin, a WWII Veteran and Muskogee native who’s been getting care at the medical center since 1946, said he really enjoyed the concert.
“I liked the whole thing and all the Veterans being here,” said Goodwin. “I liked that the (Military Order of the Purple Heart ) sponsored it. I’m a lifetime member of the Purple Heart.”
Along with the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), the evening was also sponsored by Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), Muskogee Civic Center, Fairfield Inn Suites, Muskogee Sheriff’s Department, Creek Nation Casino, Muskogee Chamber of Commerce, Bebbs Flowers and The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
In addition to sponsors, the evening was made possible by the hard work of Voluntary Services which successfully applied for the concert, obtained sponsors and organized the event.
“We were very happy with the outcome,” said Greg Sorenson, Voluntary Services Chief. “We had three hospitalized Veterans attend the concert and we had a really good turnout. It sounds really good for us to get another concert next year, so we can honor our Veterans and keep this going in the community.”
Sorenson expressed his thanks to the 92 volunteers who worked the concert and helped make it a success.
“I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “You did a great job. We could have never done something like this without all your help.”
The Valentines for Veterans Concert seeks to increase community awareness of VA health care and the services available to Veterans, encourage community members to serve as VA volunteers to support Veterans and demonstrate respect and appreciation for our nation’s Veterans.
These concerts are also a great way for Veterans and their families to share time together. The divorce statistics of Operation Enduring Freedom/ Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) are staggering – something the public is largely unaware of. The concert events bring awareness to this issue, often, leading to corporate partnerships and sponsorships to further promote the needs of Veterans.
The medical center hopes to host another Valentines for Veterans concert next year.