By: Debbie Cockrell | Tacoma News Tribune
Take a bow, Tacoma, you came out strong to support veterans Sunday.
Musician Joe Walsh’s second annual VetsAid concert, this year at the Tacoma Dome, raised more than $1.2 million to help veterans and their families. More than 18,000 were in attendance for the show, according to the show’s organizers. The concert featured Ringo Starr, James Taylor, Don Henley, Chris Stapleton and HAIM.
In a statement released after the fundraising concert, Walsh joked: “I can’t believe everybody showed up!”
“This issue, veterans and their families, is resonant to me because I am a Gold Star family member,” he said. “I lost my Dad in active duty when I was 20 months old. I also want to bring attention to a forgotten war, we are at war, and our soldiers are coming back shattered and need our support.
“I had to do something, and I am in a position to, so I did. We shouldn’t see vets standing by the side of a road holding up a cardboard sign for food and shelter. Tonight we raised money to help change that.”
According to an earlier news release, nonprofits receiving aid this year from VetsAid include Suiting Warriors, Hire our Heroes, AMVETS WA, Salmon for Soldiers, Hero’s Bridge, Right Turn for Yuma Vets, Work Vessels for Vets, Arkansas Run for Fallen, Music Works4Veterans, HeartStrides, Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, Sentinels of Freedom, Warrior Canine Connection, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Semper Fi Fund, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, Stop Soldier Suicide, Operation Mend and Hire Heroes USA.
If you weren’t able to attend but still want to contribute, go to vetsaidorg.
Earlier in the day, Walsh attended the Goodwill Operation GoodJobs, which had partnered with VetsAid to offer a career fair for veterans and their families before the show.
About 150 attended the job fair. Rachel Turner-Bensen, Military & Veteran Services Program manager for Operation GoodJobs, said Walsh spent a couple of hours touring the Milgard Work Opportunity Center and learning more about the employers at the event, which included Amazon, Boeing, Alaska Air Group and various departments of corrections and the U.S. Secret Service, among others.
“We were just blown away at how he wanted to leave something sustainable here for the veterans, and the idea to have a job fair and leave something in the community that can help the families,” Turner-Bensen told The News Tribune Monday afternoon.