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Dierks Bentley meets wounded Veteran backstage, signs guitar for Benefit Auction

July 26, 2017

Guitars signed during 2017 concert season at Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater will be auctioned off to support the Gary Sinise Foundation and their R.I.S.E. program

Virginia Beach, Va. - Before Dierks Bentley's 2017 WHAT THE HELL WORLD TOUR stop at Virginia Beaches Veterans United Amphitheater on July 15, the Country music sensation met with U.S. Army Sgt. Legrand Strickland and his wife, as part of a weekend long event hosted by Veterans United Home Loans for the severely wounded Veteran. Bentley welcomed the two with warm hospitality where he signed a Fender acoustic guitar that will be part of an auction taking place later this year.

Music artists performing at the amphitheater this concert season will also autograph guitars to be auctioned off to the more than 2,400 employees Veterans United has nationwide. The proceeds from the auction will aid the Gary Sinise Foundations R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) in building Strickland a specially adapted smart home.

Guitars signed by some of the biggest names in music, including Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani, Kenny Chesney and Bentley raised more than $44,000 last year.

"I want to thank Dierks and the rest of the incredible artists who are partnering with us for this worthy cause," said Kris Farmer, chief marketing officer at Veterans United. "Our employees are passionate about helping Veterans. This was a great fundraising event for us last year and hopefully this year it will be even bigger and better as we help Sgt. Strickland and his family. I'm also humbled by Dierks willingness to meet Sgt. Strickland and his wife before the show; I know it was a great surprise for them."

Strickland was returning from a mission in Zabul, Afghanistan, in 2010 when he was struck by an IED. He was severely injured and lost both legs above the knee, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, shattered his jaw and suffered lacerations to his kidneys and liver. Strickland and his wife, Carrie, have two sons and plan to build their new home in St. Louis.

The home will be built through the Gary Sinise Foundations R.I.S.E. program, which provides mortgage-free, specially adapted smart homes customized specifically to the needs of severely wounded Veterans. This is the second year Veterans United and the Gary Sinise Foundation has partnered on this project.

I am incredibly humbled by the generosity of the employees at Veterans United Home Loans for choosing me, Strickland said. Meeting Dierks backstage was an awesome experience and the entire weekend was a great chance to get away with my wife and enjoy ourselves. I can't express my appreciation enough to Veterans United and the Gary Sinise Foundation.

Veterans United Facts

  • $34 billion
    in loans financed in 2022
  • Defense Employer Support Freedom Award Recipient
    by the Secretary of Defense
  • More than 4,300 employees
    in more than 36 states
  • More than $130 million
    raised for nonprofit charitable arm, Veterans United Foundation since Nov. 2011
  • No. 8 Best Place to Work
    according to Glassdoor Best Places to Work in 2022

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Media Team

Chad Moller
Communications Manager
(573) 876-2600 ext. 6924

Tierre Banks
Sr. Media Relations Specialist
(800) 814-1103 ext. 3220

Meet The Expert

Chris Birk, Vice President of Mortgage Insight at Veterans United Chris Birk
Author, The Book on VA Loans

Chris is the nation’s leading expert on VA Loan benefits. He authored The Book on VA Loans in 2011, and maintains the VA Loans Insider blog. His analysis and articles have appeared at a host of sites and publications, including the Washington Post, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, ABC News, USA Today, the Houston Chronicle and more. Members of the media may request a free copy of The Book on VA Loans to learn more about the VA loan program.

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