Toby Keith performed outside at the Treasure Island Resort & Casino Saturday, with his music being a perfect soundtrack for the military.
A portion of the concert tickets benefited two local veteran organizations: Hiawatha Valley Family Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota. The DAV provides strong support to more than 40,000 disabled veterans in Minnesota.
Each group invited 15 current serving military or veterans plus one guest.
Lance Garrick, president of the local Yellow Ribbon program, commented on the third row seats he and his wife had at the concert, the special ceremony before and after the concert and Keith’s honorable playlist.
“All and all it was a great event that gave tremendous support to our group,” Garrick said.
DAV of Minnesota supplies veterans in need with power chairs, walkers and other used, durable medical equipment. They ensure transportation to the VA hospitals around the state with free rides to doctor appointments and have started a new program called DAV Outdoors, which encourages vets to get outside by going into the fields, fishing and hunting.
The Hiawatha Valley Family Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program works on creating a community that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, employees and resources in order to support veterans and military families.
Both organizations were given a check for $10,000 during a private dinner prior to the concert to help support their programs.
Along with the donation, a special tribute ceremony took place before the concert, followed by a procession from the Prairie Island Indian Community Honor Guard and an eagle presentation courtesy of the National Eagle Center.
From singing “American Soldier” to “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” Keith made sure the veterans were under the spotlight for the night.
In the past 200 years, Native Americans have served in every branch of the U.S. military in larger numbers than any other ethnic group, casino spokesmen said.
There are many reasons why Native Americans have been in the military but there is a common thread; they want to defend the land where their ancestors are buried.
In the Native American culture, being a warrior is the highest honor an individual can have.