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'Stars for Soldiers' Could be Black Eye for Veteran SupportersOpinion by Patty Louisiana for Salem-News.com
What happened at a Veterans fundraiser in Albany two months ago, needs to be investigated.
(ALBANY, Ore.) - The March 19th, 2010 the "Stars for Soldiers" concert took place at the Venetian Theater in Albany, Oregon as a concert to benefit our Oregon National Guard and their families. (see: starsforsoldiers.com).
Concert promotion advertised that, “100% of all the proceeds will go to the Oregon National Guard and their families.”
The concert venue was packed with ticket sales, more than 400 were in attendance. In addition, I understand a raffle was held and sponsors were obtained.
Now, more than 2 months later, the organizer of this concert, Mr. Mitchell Keller and his Salem company, Keller Global Concerts, or is it Stars for Soldiers, Inc. or is it K.C.A. or is it Stars for Soldiers Entertainment?
I can’t be certain as all these names are used throughout the Stars for Soldier’s Website. Nonetheless, Mr. Keller has essentially told the Oregon National Guard, sorry. All proceeds went to expenses and there is nothing for you. (see: Albany Democrat Herald, (see: Expenses cited in Guard benefit concert).
As the mother of two Oregon National Guard soldiers who between them have 4 going on 5 overseas deployments and an organizer of events myself, I am hoping someone in the State will be looking into Mr. Mitchell Keller and the practices of his company(s).
To gather sponsors, collect funds for tickets, hold a raffle, bring in Country Music Artists, all in the name of our Oregon National Guard and their families- and then try to explain, expenses exceeded revenue and there is nothing for the Guard, too bad, see you later and oh by the way we are advertising for next years concert … Nice try young man.
That might work in Hollywood or Nashville, but I and many other Oregonians are not buying any of it.
One does not put on an event like this without first having a solid business plan in place. You gathered sponsors, had a sell out crowd and duped us all.
Our Oregon National Guard and their families sacrifice much and deserve better than you and your company(s) have given. No matter what your “expenses” added up to, you need to now do the right thing. Step forward and donate to the Guard the $4,900.00 you sited as collecting for this benefit concert.
Respectfully Submitted Patty Louisiana
(Note from Tim King, News Editor: I have known Patty Louisiana for several years now and I am very familiar with the hard work she puts into organizing events that help Veterans. We experienced an incident during the recent visit of the Traveling Vietnam Wall where we had not one, but two different Vietnam Veterans make fraudulent claims about their backgrounds. The story had to be re-edited after the two claims were exposed by national Veterans organizations. It was very difficult on many counts, but I can tell you that Patty didn't flinch or bat an eye, regardless of how much the news shocked and saddened us. It was an experience that very much affirmed her position with regard to all of this.
Patty was supportive when I went to Iraq to cover the war. Prior to that, I was able to spend time around her son and daughter who were deployed to Afghanistan, when I covered that war. I am including the videos of the Traveling Wall, and the report from Afghanistan; they all speak to the character of this guest writer. I know her simple goal is for the reputation of Veteran fundraising efforts to not be tarnished.)
From the Jul-15-2009 article, Major Tribute to Veterans This Weekend in Albany (VIDEO) - Tim King Salem-News.com
From the Feb-21-2007 article: Oregon Siblings Work Side By Side in Afghanistan (VIDEO)Tim King, reporting from Afghanistan This video features interviews and footage of her daughter and son, Heather and Jay, in Afghanistan, early 2007:
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