US Fed News
February 26, 2007 Monday 3:49 AM EST
CHELY WRIGHT ENTERTAINS
What is it to say thank you to a servicemember? Is it the nod of approval while passing them by at the airport or is it the look on their face of "better you than me?"
For a singer/songwriter from Wellsville, Kan., it means going where they are, where they live and saying thanks through her music.
"As long as there are boots on the ground and boots in the air, there are a bunch of us that just want to say thank you," said Chely Wright an award winning country musician.
The singer with flowing brown hair and energetic brown eyes did what she does best Feb. 26 at Third Army/ U.S. Army Central's Camp Buehring in front of more than 1,000 servicemembers.
She captivated the audience with her hit songs "The bumper of my S.U.V." and "Single White Female." Wright continually shared her thoughts and experiences with the men and women while interacting with them in an empathetic manner few can.
It started with a servicemember named, Joey, who gave her a happy holiday's teddy bear. Not missing a beat, Wright named the bear after the servicemember and placed it on stage for the rest of the concert for all to see.
Moments later she caught Staff Sgt. Tim Vreeland, an Orange Park, Fla., native talking on the phone to his wife during the concert. Wright got Vreeland on the stage and took the phone from him. She proceeded to talk to his wife while discussing his abilities as a dancer to the audience.
"I was embarrassed," said Vreeland, the Company D 1/111 Aviation Regiment Soldier.
"It was a great experience for everybody," he added about the overall performance.
This concert marks Wright's fourth tour to the Middle East since her first in 2003. With the help of Stars for Stripes President Judy Seale, the 10-day tour will extend throughout Kuwait, Iraq and finish in a welcome home ceremony for 1st Armored Division Soldiers stationed in Germany.
"This is what keeps me motivated," said Seale about the servicemembers jubilant laughter. "It's just seeing them, talking to them, reaching one person, going to one camp that has never had the entertainment."
"I'm here for 10 days a year because I don't have to be," said Wright about why she keeps coming back. She continued by poetically saying she was here for "You. Because you are my brother, you are me, you are my father."
Wright said her relationship with the military started early in life. She recalled her grandfather making her sing for veterans as a 9-year-old. Then she began playing taps for military internments near her hometown in Kansas.
"It was the genesis of why I began ever doing anything that was conscious of the military," explained Wright.
The relationship Wright has with military members has strengthened through the years due, in part, to her visits to the Middle East. She extended a warm, sincere thank you to every member of the military. She also left making them all a promise.
"I promise you, Wright pronounced. "As long as you are here, I will be here."
2007 HT Media Ltd.