Rodney Atkins headlines annual benefit concert for returning soldiers Saturday
Award-winning country singer Rodney Atkins arrives in East Texas Saturday as he headlines the annual Country for Our Country benefit concert at Villa di Felicita.
Atkins, a native of Tennessee, was the 2006 recipient of the Academy of Country Music's "Top New Male Vocalist" award and is perhaps best known for his chart-topping singles such as "If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)" and "It's America." The title track off his latest album, "Take a Back Road," became his sixth No. 1 single.
Atkins will be joined at the concert by fellow country artists, including Country for Our Country regulars Heidi Newfield and Derek Scholl, as well as Wayland Hicks and the Backroad Travelers and Jaida Dreyer.
Tickets to the event are $2,000 per table of 10, or $200 individually. Over the last three events, organizer Mary Pennington said they have raised more than $260,000 to do things such as purchase books, computers or help soldiers further their education. However, she said Country For Our Country is just as important as a show of solidarity and emotional support as it is about raising funds.
"'Country For Our Country' is the name that the soldiers know is theirs. I don't care if it's $2 or if it's $2,000, what it says as far as building within the community is that more people are starting to give back to these men and women. Instead of one night to say, 'Thank you,' (these soldiers) see the community coming around and that, to me, is huge."
Coming back from war can make resuming life difficult for many and these soldiers need all the help they can get in trying to make things normal again, Mrs. Pennington said.
"War is their job. ... They go to war, that's all they know," she said. "So support is huge."
This year, proceeds will go toward funding five $10,000 scholarships to Tyler Junior College, the University of Texas at Tyler, Stephen F. Austin University, Texas College and Texas A&M.
"Hopefully we will have all of this processed to be able to give these scholarships out in October at the event," Mrs. Pennington said.
The primary event will take place Saturday at Villa di Felicita. In addition, there will be another, smaller event this evening.
Tonight's event will feature food and drink, the travelling Vietnam Wall, live music by Kayla Conn and Miranda Lambert's father, Rick Lambert and a word from Maj. Gen. Red Brown. Tickets for that event are $50.
For tickets or more information, visit www.countryforourcoun try.com.