By TIM UNRUH
Back-to-back gatherings next month aim to first entertain the public and raise money for military veteran organizations, and then provide vital information and services from the Veterans Administration.
The second annual Salute to Our Veterans begins at 5:30 p.m. May 19 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1432, 1108 W. Crawford Street.
The evening features acoustic performances by Jared Blake, Bigg Vinny, and Thompson Square.
A VIP Meet ’n Greet is 5:30-6:30 p.m. Those tickets are priced at $100. Veterans' admission is $40 and general admission is $50.
Doors open to general admission ticket holders at 6 p.m. The concert runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Dance music will be played following the concert.
A silent auction opens at 6 and concludes at 8:30, and a live auction is open from 8 until 8:30.
Tickets are available at the Salina VFW and Interim HealthCare of Salina, 1005 W. South. To learn more, call Steven Murrison (501) 733-1781; Mandy McIntire, (785) 826-7653, or Jon Armstrong of Armstrong Entertainment, (515) 720-5802.
Kansas Commission of Veterans Affairs, and Valley Hope Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Services for Veterans will be available in the VFW Lounge from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
“We are reaching out to other organizations as well,” Armstrong said.
Event proceeds go to the VFW, Kansas Honor Flight, and Northpoint Veteran Care Foundation.
A Veterans Administration Outreach Team will meet with veterans from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 20 in the basement of The Temple, 336 S. Santa Fe Avenue in downtown Salina. Enter through the north door.
The team will provide education on VA health care and the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022. PACT stands for Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics. Officials will enroll veterans in VA health care and assist with disability claims and other benefits. Veterans should bring their DD-214s, and most recent tax returns.
VA team members will attend from Junction City, Manhattan and Wichita, said Doug Randolph, president of the Salina Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 809.
“They will go over the PACT Act and the health care and benefits we deserve,” he said. “If there is something they already have, but there are complications, they can get that resolved. A lot of veterans don’t realize exactly what benefits they have, with Agent Orange, the burn pits (contamination) and things like that.”
An estimated 47 veterans attended the gathering in Salina in 2022, Randolph said.
“It will be a good weekend for veterans,” Randolph said.
Those with questions may call Randolph at (785) 822-4085.