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Ticket distribution for veterans and their guests to attend the annual John J. Pershing VA Medical Center Valentines for Veterans Concert began Monday.

The concert will feature popular country music soloist Neal McCoy. McCoy is a two-time Entertainer of the Year, with three Platinum albums, one Gold album, and numerous #1 and Top-10 hit singles such as "No Doubt About It," "You Gotta Love That," "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye," and "If I Was a Drinking Man."

Tickets will be distributed through the medical center’s Voluntary Services Office, 573-778-4499 or 573-778-4276, and the Black River Coliseum, 573-686-8001.

The concert will be held Feb. 14 at the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff, located at 301 S. Fifth Street. Pre-show activities will begin at 6 p.m., with the main show starting at 6:30. Doors will open at 5 p.m. There is no admission charge to the concert, but veterans and their guests will need a ticket to attend (limit six per veteran.)

“We are grateful to all of our sponsors, but are still seeking donations to support the event,” noted VA Voluntary Services Officer Dale Garrett. “Donations we receive prior to Jan. 15 will ensure donors receive recognition in our concert brochure and possibly on the pre-show video.”

Garrett explained the concert is the culmination of VA’s annual National Salute to Veteran Patients Week, a program designed to express appreciation for America’s veterans, increase community awareness of the local VA medical center, and encourage citizens to visit hospitalized veterans and/or become involved as volunteers. During the National Salute, VA invites individuals and organizations to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers.

“At 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, at the Missouri National Guard Armory (1605 Cravens Road, Poplar Bluff), we will have the Wall of Valor ceremony, inducting veterans who have received commendation for acts of valor. At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, also at the armory, we will have a proclamation ceremony to honor some area veterans with state senator and gubernatorial proclamations,” Garrett said.

Garrett explained VA is seeking businesses and organizations who want to partner with VA to conduct various activities for veteran patients the week of the National Salute. Activities may include passing out coffee and donuts, candies, flowers, or whatever they wish to do for the veterans. The activities and donations will result in a donation receipt which can be used for tax purposes.

“For more information about how to help with the National Salute, the Wall of Valor, or the Valentines for Veterans Concert, please contact our Voluntary Services Office,” Garrett added.

Garrett reminds concert attendees that opening for McCoy will be The Bob Lewis Family Band, a local bluegrass group from Doniphan that has appeared on stage with greats such as Bill Monroe, Kitty Wells, and Little Jimmy Dickens. The band has performed in Branson and was featured on the PBS film, “The Mississippi River of Song,” a Smithsonian TV and radio series.

The concert will also showcase the talents of high school senior, Eagle Scout, and country rap artist, Urban Blaze (Abe), debuting with his single, "Thankful." The song honors veterans, military and their families, and the artist is the son of two military officers.

“Our medical center is excited about the tenth annual concert,” Garrett said. “The support our community provides its veterans is always an inspiration and these concerts are truly an example of that support in action.”

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