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July 30, 2013
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Country music stars Montgomery Gentry celebrate America’s heroes at Beaver Creek concert

A country super group is celebrating heroes amid the mayhem and triumph amid the tragedy.

Montgomery Gentry is bringing its Celebrate America’s Heroes tour to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Thursday night.

Montgomery Gentry is two guys, Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery. They’ve sold millions of albums, been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, have 14 Top 10 hits, and five No. 1s, including “Something To Be Proud Of.”

It all started with an email from someone in their fan club. A man wanted to take his son to their show as a thank-you for how much he’d helped the family through difficult times.

“He kept calling him his hero,” Gentry said.

Then the Boston Marathon bombing happened, the explosion in Texas and then Oklahoma.

“We keep seeing these people stepping up to help and we think those people need to be celebrated,” Gentry said.

The Vilar Center folks chose the Vail Veterans Program to receive a portion of every ticket sold as a benefit. The Vilar Center is also giving away tickets to some local veterans and four Wounded Warriors to be in the crowd as the band’s guests. They’ll get a meet-and-greet with the group before the show.

“They’re all big, big Montgomery fans,” said Cheryl Jensen, founder of the Vail Veterans Program. “We’re thrilled the Vilar Center chose us.”

Matt Kyle, Neil Duncan, Nick Orchowski and Justin Widhalm will be coming up from Parker and Denver. Local vets Mike Halas, Mike Pope and Pat Hammon were also picked for the event.

‘The least we can do’

These days, we’re generally happy to see military veterans, but it wasn’t so long ago they were vilified.

Christy Pope recalls her husband Mike’s return from a tour in Vietnam when the USS Newport News sailed into San Francisco Bay. As the sailors stood in their Navy whites, thousands of protestors dumped garbage on them as the ship sailed under the bridge. At the sailors they screamed things like “baby killer,” “murderer” and any number of other horrible things.

“Mike remembers that he felt very hurt and disappointed in his fellow Americans that day because so many of them died in a war that was not created by them but that they had no choice but to fight,” Christy wrote. “We have a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old whom we have taught that no matter your political views, you always defend and protect those who risk their lives every day to protect this country and her interests.”

Mike Halas served two tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan. He also served in Slovenia and Macedonia. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star for Valor in Iraq.

Pat Hammon served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in Vietnam.

Along with members of the military, Montgomery Gentry’s Celebrate America’s Heroes tour honors first-responders, leaders, teachers and unspoken everyday champions. Fans can submit stories and nominate their personal hero by going to www.facebook.com/montgomerygentry.

Honoring people like that is easy, Montgomery said.

“We’ve toured so much throughout our career and have been blessed to be able to meet so many great people and fans out there,” Montgomery said. “Celebrating American Heroes is the least we can do to give back.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Jul 30, 2013 04:02PM Published Jul 30, 2013 02:54PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.