MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Approximately 2,000 country music fans gathered for the 7th annual WRNS Guitar Pull at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Nov. 19.
The free concert was hosted by Marine Corps Community Services and local country music radio station, WRNS. The guitar pull featured talents including William Michael Morgan, Cam, Canaan Smith, Cassadee Pope and Waterloo Revival.
“The guitar pull is a unique event that gives the community members, who may have not ever been on a military installation, a chance for them to come out and support the military and have that close personal contact with the Marines and Sailors while enjoying a great concert,” said Beth McKenzie, marketing director with MCCS.
According to McKenzie, the 2,000 tickets were split among active and reserve service members, radio listeners, wounded warriors, veterans and community members.
“Living in eastern North Carolina there is not a whole lot of great big talent that comes to this area, so events like this are awesome. It affords us the opportunity to partner with our community and the local radio stations in our community to not only bring high caliber entertainment, but free entertainment to our Marines and Sailors,” explained McKenzie.
During the event, patrons who brought new, unwrapped toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drop-off were entered into a drawing to win a guitar signed by all of the evening’s entertainers.
“By hosting this event I hope that all those in attendance have a good time and be exposed to music they may have not heard or listened to before,” said McKenzie. “The guitar pull is a different environment. It is a private, acoustic concert where all the artists come out one at a time, play songs, sit on the stage, talk, tell stories about the various words behind the songs they wrote, how they got started as an artist and the struggles they may have had. Some even have a military connection and have said they really enjoy performing for the service members, it's just a really great experience for everyone involved.”
According to McKenzie, Toys for Tots is something people associate with the Marine Corps, so by combining the concert with the toy drive more toys can be collected and awareness of the cause can be raised.
“As a reservist, I love being a part of the Toys for Tots program, collecting toys and seeing the joy it brings people to know they are helping someone in need during the holidays,” explained Cpl. Francisco Cardenas, an operations clerk with Combat Logistics Battalion 25. “Through Toys for Tots we can fight and provide for younger generations.”
According to Cardenas hearing all the talented artists and enjoying the concert are a plus, but he really enjoys volunteering and enjoying the company of service members and community patrons.
“It is touching to see the huge turnout for this event,” said Cardenas. “I feel honored that these artists come all the way here to Cherry Point to perform the free concert for us, it shows that what we do matters to them and it make me feel great about the job I do.”