Bret Michaels honors Hometown Heroes at Sioux City concert

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing

This Veterans Day weekend Bret Michales swept into Sioux City, Iowa for a one night show that was filled with passion, excitement and heart felt appreciation for members of the U.S. military who have served both past and present.

Michaels’ Sioux City performance was part of a five city “Hometown Heroes” tour where he and his band are performing several back to back concerts in America’s heartland.

Iowa Air National Guard Col. Larry Christensen was among a handful of Hometown Heroes from the Sioux City, Iowa area who were honored this Veterans Day weekend featuring the former “Poison” front man, held at the Tyson Events center in Sioux City.

“Every night during my tour, I bring local heroes up on-stage to honor them during the show.  It’s important to me that we recognize veterans, first responders, teachers and people who are making a difference in their communities,” Michaels said.

Michaels said he chose Sioux City as one of five weekend stops for the Hometown Heroes tour because of the areas commitment to veterans and those still serving. Michaels also commented on the generosity of the people who live and work in the area. Michaels said he experienced Siouxland’s “spirit of neighbor helping neighbor” first-hand when he and fellow band members helped with clean-up operations following the Pilger, Neb. tornado in 2014.

Sioux City radio station Classic Rock 99.5 was enlisted to solicit nominations for Michaels’ Hometown Heroes’ concert tour. KKMA program director Scott McKenzie said the group of five heroes were selected from a long list of area candidates.

“We wanted to make sure we had a diverse group. These are not all military veterans, they are police, medical and people involved in education,” said McKenzie.

Col. Larry Christensen is a 33 year veteran of his hometown Air National unit where he had been serving as the Wing Commander until his recent promotion to the Chief of staff of the Iowa Air Guard.  Christensen has dedicated his life to service and has been a part of numerous missions around the world both as a fighter pilot and as a KC-135 pilot.

“This is high praise to be recognized with this group,” said Christensen. “When Bret mentioned the kind of neighbor helping neighbor spirit we have, I thought these are exactly the kind of people that live here in Siouxland, are part of the Iowa National Guard and our United States military. I am proud to represent all of them.”

The rest of the group of five people who were honored at the concert included Brian Van Berkum from South Sioux City, Neb. a police officer who was wounded by gunfire in the line of duty this past year.

Jennifer Milby of Akron, Iowa was also invited on stage. Milby is a nurse and has been a part of medical mission trips to Tanzania. She was instrumental in orchestrating medical treatment for victims of a bus accident half a world away in order to receive treatment in Iowa. Her nomination also mentioned that she donated a kidney to a friend.

Roger Kroft from Battle Creek, Iowa is a 20 year Navy veteran who entered the military in 1972 near the end of the Vietnam War. Kroft also works on the ambulance crew as a paramedic in Battle Creek, Iowa.

Todd Moore of Vermillion, South Dakota was also honored during the event. Moore works for the Vermillion school district. He is also a U.S. Army veteran who is active in area veteran groups and charities. 

Michaels’ whirlwind “Hometown Heroes” tour began in Casper, Wyo. on November 6, with a show in Sioux City on Friday. Before the weekend is over the tour will make stops in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Independence, Mo. and culminate in Park City Kan. on the Veterans Day, November, 11.

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