'Stories of Valor' extravaganza promises day of fun, military support


BRADENTON -- Manatee County veterans and their families will be celebrated at a USO-style extravaganza, "Stories of Valor: Honoring Veterans, Troops and their Families," at 6 p.m. Saturday at McKechnie Field, 1611 Ninth St. W.

The National World War II Museum's vocal trio, the Victory Belles, will perform patriotic songs, including "America the Beautiful," "Shoo Shoo Baby," and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Rick Kerby, artistic director of the Manatee Players, will direct the Victory Belles from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Proceeds benefit Manasota Operation Troop Support.

Businesses are encouraged to buy a group of tickets in advance to distribute to employees and clients.

Audience members are asked to bring items that can be sent by MOTS to U.S. troops, including beef jerky, protein bars and socks. All individuals bringing an item will be eligible to win an overnight stay in the Hampton Inn & Suites - Bradenton Downtown Historic District and dining opportunities.

This family friendly event

includes a showcase of local musicians who are veterans and musical and theatrical performances.

Local blues singer and U.S. Army veteran Jesse Yawn will perform at 6:30 p.m. Born in Florida in 1937, Yawn has worked with such greats as Jack McDuff, George Benson, Grant Green and Albert King. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1962 and earned a lead vocalist spot with the 77th Army Band.

Organizations for veterans and their families at the event include Manasota Operation Troop Support, the Patterson Foundation's Legacy of Valor Campaign, Tidewell Hospice, Manatee County Habitat for Humanity, Manatee Community Federal Credit Union, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Goodwill Manasota Industries, CareerSource Suncoast, Manatee County Veterans Services, Turning Points, State College of Florida, Del Couch Music Education Foundation, SCORE, Jewish Family and Children's Services and De Soto National Memorial Park.

The Bradenton Herald is sponsoring contests for adults and children submitting writing, art, and photographs. Watch for entry forms in the Bradenton Herald or go to Bradenton.com/valor to enter. Through Friday, people can go to a Bealls Department Store in Manatee County, 6355 Manatee Ave. W., or 7365 52nd Place East, and donate $2 to MOTS to support deployed troops. The funds donated will be presented at the event.

Tickets purchased online in advance are $2 (with a $2 fee) at manateeplayers.com/boxoffice. Tickets may also be purchased in advance for $2 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton, or at the McKechnie Field box office. Tickets purchased at the door are $8 (cash only). Ticket sales start at 5 p.m. on the day of the event.

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