America Supports You: VFW Gets Boost from Patriotic Musicians
By Paul X. Rutz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 12, 2006 "American Spirit," a new CD of patriotic songs from musical group Mannheim Steamroller will go on sale May 15 to July 31 to benefit America's servicemembers and their families.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated directly to the Veterans of Foreign Wars "Unmet Needs," a military assistance program giving financial aid to military families in need.
"We are excited about working with the VFW Foundation and military assistance program," said Chip Davis, the group's creator and main composer. "The donation is our way of thanking the men and women of the U.S. armed forces and their families for all of their sacrifices."
On top of the monetary donation, for each CD sold, Mannheim Steamroller will provide a free CD to be sent to the VFW military assistance program for distribution to military families.
"On July 31, when we end this promotion, they're going to tell us how many thousands were ordered, and then they'll provide us a comparable amount that we will distribute around the country," Mike Gormalley, the VFW Foundation's senior director, said.
The group contacted Unmet Needs and proposed the project three months ago, Gormalley said. Although the promotion kicks off May 15, Gormalley said he was already getting calls in April from people interested in ordering C's.
Since its inception in June 2004, the VFW Foundation has distributed over $1,000,000 to needy families, and the program continues reaching out to other groups to help the support effort.
Vermont American, a power tool company, is the biggest donor to Unmet Needs, providing $250,000 per year, Gormalley said, adding that Mannheim Steamroller will be a big help this summer. "We've had smaller donations by groups," he said. "But those are the two main groups right now."
Retired Marine Gunnery Sgt. R. Lee Ermey, famous for his role as a drill instructor in the 1987 film "Full Metal Jacket," is the main spokesman for Unmet Needs. Earlier this year, he helped issue a challenge to Junior ROTC units across the country, enlisting high school students' help to support military families. Gormalley said he expects to ramp up that program annually, issuing the challenge each September.