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445th Airlift Wing commander helps KISS honor veterans

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Military members past and present were among a crowd of more than 10,000 die-hard KISS fans as they rocked out during a KISS concert honoring military veterans August 22, 2016 at the Nutter Center in Fairborn, Ohio.

According to their website, KISS is regarded as one of the most influential rock and roll bands of all-time, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide in their 40 year career. The group is currently on a 40-city "Freedom To Rock" tour, honoring U.S. veterans across the nation and providing generous donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, which helps veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. The program partnered with KISS and the Veteran Tickets Foundation to salute military heroes across the county.

“It means a great deal (to us) to support our troops,” said Paul Stanley, KISS singer and guitarist.

As a part of the band’s “Freedom To Rock” tour, KISS is hiring veterans or those currently serving in the National Guard or Reserve to be roadies for a day at their concert stops. The individual is selected by HOH. Master Sgt. Erica Vanderventer, Army National Guard, was the representative for the Dayton area. She helped with the set up and tear down of the stage.

At the end of the concert, Col. Adam Willis, 445th Airlift Wing commander, along with the Color Guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3438, West Carrollton, Ohio, and Vanderventer took the stage during a special presentation. Colonel Willis was given the microphone where he thanked the band for their continuous support of the troops, the veterans and the HOH program for their support in helping veterans in need. The band then presented a check in the amount of $150,000 for the HOH program.

“On behalf of Team Wright-Patterson and all the armed forces of our Nation, I’d like to thank KISS and the Hiring Our Heroes organization for their enduring support of all our men and women in uniform,” Willis said. “I leave you with one parting remembrance of tonight, ‘Freedom rocks!’”

Before the group left the stage, Stanley had a few more words to share about supporting the military.

“Patriotism is always cool. Loving your country is always cool. Standing up for your military is always cool,” Stanley said.

Closing out the evening after the presentation, the band played a rock ‘n’ roll rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the hit, “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

Information about the HOH program can be found at https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes.

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