Lady Antebellum Honors Veterans
ABC is thanking veterans this holiday season with a special campaign called "Home for the Holidays." From November 18th through New Year's Eve, ABC will honor veterans with various storylines through their programming, on-air greetings from some of ABC's biggest names, and a special celebration of veterans through five short films. The films have been written, directed and produced by veterans, and each will tell a unique story of veterans' experiences coming Home for the Holidays. They will be released on ABC.com on November 18th and 25th and December 2nd, 9th and 13th.
Lady Antebellum will sing the theme song for the campaign, the Kenny Loggins and Bob James song "Celebrate Me Home". To raise awareness for the campaign and their new album, the band has been traveling the country recognizing veterans with special gifts and small, intimate concerts.
On Monday, "Lady A" visited Greenville, and honored one very special veteran.
Tom Burns is a retired first sergeant in the Army, having served much of his career in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, Burns suffered shrapnel wounds from an IED explosion. A disabled veteran, Burns returned to the US and started the next phase of his life as a small business owner, opening Lite Um Up Cigars lounge in Columbia, affectionately known as "The Man Cave."
Burns and his wife Wendy Torres, who is also a retired disabled veteran, were invited to a VIP show by Lady Antebellum in Greenville. But what they didn't know is that they'd be called up during the show to receive a gift basket and VIP tickets to Lady Antebellum's upcoming show in Greenville.
"We just wanted in our own way to be able to say thank you both for what you do. So come hang out with us February 22nd!" said Hillary Scott.
"That was fantastic," said Burns. "Just for the band to take time out and recognize my wife and I, it means a lot. It shows people really do care and reach out."
"It's a way to say thanks," said Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum. "We always love saying thanks for those who give us the freedoms we have. It's our way of giving back to them."
Though he was the one being honored on this night, Burns sends his own thank yous to soldiers still overseas. "I send about 5,000 cigars a year to the theater of operation. Just to remember where I come from, and that's free to the soldiers," says Burns.
Burns has also started his own private label cigar, called the Band of Brothers, to remember Capt. Christopher Seifert, a fallen comrade from his time in Iraq who died in Burns' arms.
"It's a brotherhood. The service is a brotherhood. He was taken from us early, and you just have to remember, to help keep you grounded, how blessed and fortunate you are. To keep his memory alive, and to help other service men and women. That's important to me."