Friday, September 21, 2012

Lieutenant Dan Weekend- Beaufort, SC

Before embarking on our east coast journey last year, we had the privilege of honoring our nation's wounded warriors during Beaufort's Lt. Dan Weekend with Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.  This annual event raises money for the Independence Fund, which helps severely wounded veterans purchase equipment to make their lives a little easier. Gary Sinise participates in special events all weekend ranging from the Lt. Dan 5K run to a Veteran's Parade with all events culminating with the Lt. Dan Band Concert on Saturday night.

The concert at Beaufort's Waterfront Park was the perfect first live music experience for the kids.  All three rocked it out.  The concert opened with local scenes from the 1994 movie Forrest Gump.  Beaufort's streets and waterways are shown throughout the film with the Vietnam scenes with Gary Sinise as Lt. Dan shot on our own Fripp Island. The character of Lt. Dan was severely wounded in Vietnam and after playing the role, Gary Sinise has felt a strong commitment to raising money and awareness for veterans like Lt. Dan. “The role [of Lt. Dan] means something to people. It means something to disabled veterans,” said Sinise. “It’s a good feeling to know you can play a part in a movie and have it make a difference. I have great respect for our veterans. We don’t want our warriors to fall through the cracks.”  Read more:  Then, Sinise and his band took the stage and jammed for two hours.  During the show, he brought injured veterans and their families on the stage to recognize for their bravery and award them with special vacations to relax and get to know each other again after their recovery.  It was a beautiful night.

Worn out from her first concert
iBot Chair in action on the golf course.
Last Spring, Greg took the kids to see some of the good work the Lt. Dan Weekend and other fundraisers provided.  The Independence Fund held the Wounded Warriors Golf Week in the Beaufort area demonstrating the wonderful capabilities of the iBot chair, which enables people who no longer have use of their legs to stand and perform many actions including playing golf.  Greg and the kids applauded as the wounded veteran hit a gorgeous tee shot down the middle of the fairway.  How often do you get to attend a fun fundraiser and see a demonstration of funds at work in the same year?

Back in Beaufort County this week, we saw all the preparations for the Independence Fund's local shindig.  I am so pleased that our adopted hometown folks rally around such a great cause! If you're planning a getaway for next year, plan on a great time with great folks and music in Beaufort for Lt. Dan Weekend 4.  If you are interested in the work of the Independence Fund, please visit their website: Independence Fund.

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