North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Evening of Honor supports veterans

 

Christopher Andersson

Seattle musician Aaron Crawford sings at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center on Oct. 8 as part of the Evening of Honor which supports the Wounded Warrior Project.

One Arlington veteran hopes to create a new way for the community to support its service members with the Evening of Honor Concert which was held on Oct. 8.

Christopher St. John, a local Navy veteran, was inspired to start something to support veterans after reading about a daily devotional about Thanksgiving.

"The only problem with Thanksgiving is that you only do it one day," he said. "I'm thinking, 'what can I do?' thinking of the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, but there's 365 days of the year so why aren't we celebrating America and the defenders in other days?"

Seattle country music singer Aaron Crawford and the local Harvey Creek Band performed at the concert at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center.

Local businesses also provided items to be raffled off in another effort to raise money.

All proceeds of the concert went to the Wounded Warrior Project. The non-profit organization supports veterans who have returned from service with physical or mental injuries.

Jeremiah Pauley, a Wounded Warrior Project representative and a Purple Heart recipient, spoke at the concert.

Pauley was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq and was medically retired. To Pauley, the mental problems of the event were worse than the physical effects.

"I think it's important to draw attention to mental health issues because mental health has such a negative stigma in our society," he said, and he hopes to encourage more people to get the help they need.

St. John agreed that as a society we have been getting better at addressing those problems, but we aren't there yet.

"In WWI it was battle fatigue, it was shell shock in WWII, and now it's PTSD, and each euphemism gets a little closer to the truth," he said.

He said that the idea of the concert was well-received.

"So far it's been really positive, a lot of people have said they haven't seen something of its kind," he said.

Many local citizens said they came out to support veterans.

"It's a great cause to support our veterans who have just given the ultimate sacrifice for our country," said local Sonya Kraski. "As citizens we should 100 percent stand behind them for their service."

Christopher Andersson

Purple Heart recipient and Wounded Warrior Project representative Jeremiah Pauley speaks on Oct. 8 as part of the Evening of Honor at the Byrnes Performing Arts Center.

In many cases, the sacrifice was great for veterans.

"We want to do what we can to support the veterans," said local John Koster. "I think if you reflect on the sacrifices they make, and the sacrifices their families make, anything we can do to honor that is a good thing."

Pauley said he was excited for the concert.

"I think anytime you get a community involved with supporting this nation's wounded veterans, it's an amazing thing," he said.

St. John said he hopes to make the evening an annual event.

Next year he hopes to bring in more service members, non-profit organizations and hopes to run a 5K/10 run and/or a golf tournament "so we're bringing more people from outside the city limits."

He hopes that the concert is something that can expand next year.

 

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