Toby Keith's I Love this Bar & Grill, November 21, 2013
* This article was updated in August 2020 to reflect the band's decision to change its name to distance itself from a term with ties to slavery.
People who follow the Country music group Lady A may know that veterans hold a special place in their hearts. Gary Staten just found that out himself when he attended a private concert by Lady A hosted by ABC, local radio and TV stations B-105 and WCPO-TV at Toby Keith's Bar and Grill. (WCPO story)
Gary believed he was among several veterans to be on hand to watch the country superstars in Cincinnati. He was honored to be there with his wife and son. It was a break from the realities of life and gave him something new to focus on. During the concert he was surprised that the concert was for him - an inspiring young hero.
Gary was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in September of this year after severely breaking his led during a training exercise in Afghanistan. He had planned to start life anew and pay off his bills, get an apartment and move back to Northern Kentucky where he and his wife had grown up.
The government shutdown happened at about the same time and Gary didn't get paid. Which meant he had no place to live, no job and his bills and fees were piling up. Gary was a Marine and he doesn't ask for help. His family did what they could but the outlook wasn't good. He called United Way's 211 who connected him quickly to Easterseals. Jessica, a veteran herself, called him back the next morning and gave him a list of connections and a path out. He was able to connect to emergency assistance that helped him fill the gap until his paycheck came. He then worked with Easterseals Veteran Services employment specialist Pat who connected both he and his wife to possible employment. Amber is now working a temp job while Gary is about to begin permanent employment with FedEx and begin classes in the Spring at Cincinnati State to be an EMT.