(Photo by Elizabeth Bryson)

Legion, Soldier’s Wish honor veterans

The Salute & Serve Our Nation’s Heroes event in Nashville, Tenn., last weekend during the CMA Music Festival featured the efforts of The American Legion, Soldier’s Wish and HISTORY channel. Soldier’s Wish and the Legion had a tent set up next to HISTORY’s 80-foot Cross-Country Cookout smoker and grill, which drew in swarms of crowds with its free sausages.

Local Legionnaires from Post 5 were on site to discuss the Legion’s mission, its programs and benefits, as well as hand out "Why You Should Belong" and "How We Help" brochures. Legionnaires included Post 5 Commander Charles Harrison, Norman Nuismer and Charles Samsel. Tennessee Department Commander Mike Hammer and Department Adjutant Dean Tuttle also visited the Salute & Serve event to pay their respects to veterans and servicemembers at the festival.

The Legion and Soldier’s Wish staff members passed out Soldier’s Wish dog tags and brochures about the new program to those who came by the tent, and they not only shared success stories of helping veterans and servicemembers, they added to them. The Legion and Soldier’s Wish provided a job for an unemployed U.S. Army veteran and Post 88 member David Watts for the remainder of the festival. Watts was a cook for HISTORY’s Cross-Country Cookout smoker and grill.

Stars from several HISTORY programs, including Troy and Chase Landry from "Swamp People" and Danielle Colby from "American Pickers," were on site to take photos with fans and sign autographs. Peter Gaytan, executive director of the Legion’s Washington office, and Dick Holmes, executive director of the Legion’s John H. Geiger Operations Center in Indianapolis, were also in attendance to share the Legion’s message and relationship with Soldier’s Wish.

Follow The American Legion on Facebook and Twitter to see live coverage for the remaining Salute & Serve events:

June 25 – HISTORY New York City Event

July 6-7 – Summerfest; Milwaukee

July 20 – Chicago

July 29-31 – Oshkosh Airventure; Oshkosh, Wis.

Aug. 4-6 – Sturgis Motorcycle Rally; Sturgis, S.D.