HANFORD — The Hanford Fox Theatre will be hosting a country music concert on Friday at 7 p.m. in honor of military veterans.
Organized by local organization Six Strings for Freedom, the concert will feature country singer Brian Davis, who has written for many country artists, including one of Brantley Gilbert’s most popular songs, “One Hell of an Amen.”
Also headlining the event are Gregor Ross from Caruthers and JJ Brown from Hanford.
All proceeds from the event will go to Our Heroes Dreams, a nonprofit organization that assists veterans. Organizers say the money will help pay for retreats and other programs.
“I’m always seeking out opportunities to work with vets,” Brown said. “It’s always important for the community to constantly recognize our veterans and simply let them know the community hasn’t forgotten about them."
Brown served in the Navy for five years and said he was excited to be part of the concert.
Clay Groefsema, co-founder of Six Strings for Freedom, said he wanted to do something for veterans because he has many friends who are former military and his twin brother is a pilot in the Marines. He hopes this event will help bring the community together.
“[These veterans], they're young guys that are often going through tough times and they’re fresh out of the military,” Groefsema said. “They lose their identity and it’s a sad thing to see.”
Groefsema said many veterans have a hard time adjusting back to normal life after their military service. Because of this, he teamed with Our Heroes Dreams, a local organization founded by Hanford resident and former veteran Justin Bond. Groefsema was impressed by the work the organization does to help veterans when they return home.
“The biggest battlefield that our guys face is here in the homefront,” Bond said. “They have to learn how to turn that soldier light switch off. They teach us how to be warriors, but not how to be civilians.”
Bond lost one of his legs during the Battle of Fallujah on April 4, 2004. He and his troop became completely surrounded by insurgents and bond ended up shot in both knees by AK-47 fire.
Bond was 26 when he left the military and became depressed.
“Eleven people that I knew committed suicide," Bond said. "I knew that we had to do something."
According to the Veteran’s Suicide Prevention Program, 20 veterans die from suicide every day.
Bond formed Our Heroes Dreams and focuses his time on making sure that veterans find a place to heal and get back to regular life.
“Guys like [Bond] are very admirable,” said Groefsema.
Bond’s next goal for the organization is to have a camp for veterans. The group is looking to buy property of up to 350 acres near Bass Lake that would be called Camp Freedom. He said it would be open all year for veterans and first responders.
The organization now takes veterans to Camp Harmon in the Santa Cruz mountains for five-day healing retreats.
“Our mission is to take them fishing, get them the help that they need and provide an outlet so that they can go and be able to relax and be able to live again," Bond said.