I’m having a hard time putting into words on paper (screen) what we’ve just experienced, what I was a small part of.
Last February we spent a week in the Bahamas attending an event called Songwriters in Paradise; it was such a fun experience. We all walked (ok, boated or flew) away with such good memories.
The following month we met up with the head of this event Patrick in Nashville. He’s become a fast friend; I find this happens a lot with the Coach and our friends; we make connections everywhere we go.
Anyhoo, the Coach had this idea to bring the songwriters together for a benefit to raise funds for wounded veterans via our friends’ foundation; The Kevin Popke Foundation. (Kevin is the brother/wife of our dear friends who was killed by a distracted driver less than 2 years ago; a decorated retired Army First Seargent who served his entire adult life)
So, the idea came to the Coach in February/March and this past weekend it actually happened. The very first of it’s kind: Songwriters For Veterans.
The event was on Saturday night, but on Friday we took the songwriters out to dinner and then we hit up a local bar and some of the guys got on stage and gave a little preview of what was to come the next night.
Left to right, The Coach, Our songwriters, Wyatt Durrette (writes a LOT of Zac Browns songs and currently has a number #1 song sung by Luke Combs)
James Otto (goodness, he’s a giant man and I felt like a toddler next to him) He’s got a slew of songs he’s written and performed. My favorite that he sings is Just got started loving you and my most favorite that he’s written is You should have seen it in color by Jamey Johnson. This might be the best country song ever written…..it’s beautiful and patriotic.
Patrick Davis is the leader of the Songwriters in Paradise events; he’s a great performer himself and has written many songs with Jimmy Buffet, Darius Rucker and more.
Channing Wilson is always a fan favorite; a big ole Teddy Bear who is so humble and talented; he writes for a slew of Nashville singers. Django Walker (his real name) is the tall cutie with the brim hat; such a sweet guy. He’s actually from Texas and has his own band; you may recall his Father, Jerry Jeff Walker; AKA the singer/songwriter of Mr. Bojangles.
Lauren Jenkins is down front with our sweet veteran friend Shawn; Lauren has her first album coming out early next year. Then we have our friend Eric (and his wife) who run a charity that gets the beach wheelchairs to deserving wounded veterans. (Other Side Of The Dunes)
This is Shawn’s chair that he was given to him the night of the event. He’s lived in Florida for 8 years and has been to the beach only 6 times….and he said most of those times, someone carried him to the beach, but were not there to carry him back. He should never, ever be left behind.
The night of our event we were able to get one picture with all the artists and some of our main players. 🙂 See the Coach there in the plaid shirt? He’s standing in front of James Otto….my coach is a big guy and he looks small in front of James; too funny!
We had over 300 people attend this special event.
The Coach having a little heart to heart with our friend Mike who has founded the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch right here in Florida. (no association with Wounded Warriors) A lot of the funds we raised will be going to this park that is geared towards wounded veterans and their families to enjoy.
I have lots more photos and videos, but I’ll just leave this right here. We were hoping to raise a lot of money, and we did. We actually raised almost TWICE as much as we’d hoped.
Needless to say, we’ll be doing this again next year.