Show supports our La. troops

An idea that the commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter said he “dreamed up” in August is becoming a reality as “A Musical Tribute for Our Troops” hits the stage Jan. 3 at the Gonzales Civic Center.

Brent Gautreau, a Desert Storm U.S. Army veteran and commander of the Gonzales Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, said he was looking for a way to support members of the Gonzales-based Louisiana National Guard’s 922nd Engineer Company when he thought of the idea of having a USO-style variety show.

Gautreau said his VFW chapter had recently officially adopted the local unit and wanted to “do something to show them support during their next deployment.”

The Louisiana National Guard’s 922nd Engineer Company is scheduled to deploy to Kuwait with more than 150 soldiers, Staff Sgt. Dennis B. Ricou, guard public affairs office spokesman, said in a news release.

The unit will be departing from Louisiana to Fort Bliss, Texas, for mobilization training in early February before flying overseas, Ricou said. Their slated mission as a horizontal engineer company is to perform facility engineer operations throughout bases in Kuwait, he said. The deployment is tentatively set to last approximately 365 days, Ricou said.

Gautreau said he met with American Legion Commander Stephen Henry about the idea and “he was all in.”

Next, Gautreau talked to Larry Schexnaydre, of Center Stage Performing Arts Academy, about performing for the program.

“I’ve been a fan of their shows for years and knew they would do a great job saluting the troops,” Gautreau said.

Schexnaydre, Gautreau said, suggested Ned Fasullo and the Fabulous Big Band for the show.

“I got more info, called him and he said yes, too, so we were in business,” Gautreau said.

Gautreau said all of the proceeds from the show will be used to fund care packages for the guardsmen.

To pull together the organization of the show and care package project, Gautreau sought out the assistance of other veterans groups.

The new Ascension Veterans Association is made up of volunteers of local chapters of Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans Association, Loyal Order of the Purple Heart and Woman Veterans of Louisiana.

The concert, which starts at 6:30 p.m., also will include an auction.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased by calling Gautreau at (225) 485-7875 or emailing, brent.gautreau@gmail.com.

Sponsorships also are available, he said.

Tickets will not be sold at the door, but will be available until show time, Gautreau said.

“It’s going to be a great time and it’s all for the troops,” Gautreau said.