March 25, 2008
Willie Nelson Concert Broadcast Live to Deployed Troops
Last Wednesday night Willie Nelson performed a concert for a sold out packed house at the Norva concert hall in Norfolk Virginia. The concert was simultaneously broadcast live to military units in Iraq and Afghanistan by Stardust Radio via a special internet connection. The special broadcast was sponsored by Operation Firing For Effect and Stardust Radio and was approved by the Department of Defense and the Pentagon. Only pre-approved internet connections outside the continental United States were able to receive the special broadcast. Mr. Gene Simes, National Chairman of Operation Firing For Effect was invited by Willie to join him on stage to start the concert and to explain the live overseas broadcast.
OFFE National Chairman, Gene Simes and country music legend Willie Nelson
The Stardust Radio concert broadcast was the latest joint venture between Operation Firing For Effect and Mr. Willie Nelson in support of our men and women in uniform. The high quality audio feed was made directly from the master sound board at the concert and broadcast over a closed internet connection to military units deployed overseas. During the two and a half hour concert troops were able to comment on the concert in a secured chat room setup especially for the event. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and appreciated by all who heard the closed-circuit broadcast.
The Willie Nelson interview was video taped by OFFE member Mr. John Blanchard and his production team; Senior Producer, Stephanie Rojo, and Program Director, Amy Johnson. Mr. John Blanchard, (U.S. Navy veteran) is a successful Chicago businessman with a long history of developing programs to help former military personnel and their families. One such creation is the National Association of Systems Administrators Education Corporation (NASA), which Blanchard is the founder and CEO. Another very impressive project John Blanchard has founded is Operation Stand Down. Stand Down is a grassroots, community-based intervention program designed to help the nation's estimated 200,000 homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets. Homeless veterans are brought together in a single location and are provided access to the community resources needed to begin addressing their individual problems and rebuilding their lives. In the military tradition, Stand Down afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being. For more information on NASA and Operation Stand Down, visit; http://www.nasaeducation.org
During the Willie Nelson interview, Willie signed a very nice Washburn guitar for OFFE to use for a Memorial Day fund raising raffle. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to produce several public service announcements to be aired on CNBC during the month of October prior to the general election. The OFFE PSAs will promote full mandatory funding of veteran’s healthcare.