JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD-- Servicemembers from around the state got a special treat when local musicians performed at the second annual Dock of the Bay Blues Festival in Westport, Wash., Sept. 11.
The festival included featured artist Lee Oskar, Malcolm Clark, Kim Archer, Tony La Stella's Wise Guys and many others.
"The event is about several things, the first is music and the magic of music enhancing communities and lives," said Tony La Stella, performing artist and co-coordinator for the Dock of the Bay Blues Festival.
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank A. Grippe, I Corps, presented Wayne "Top" Cook, president of the Marine Motorcycle Club, a group of U.S. Marine Corps veterans who ride Harley Davidsons, with an American flag to be flown at the festival.
The MMC transported the flag from Olympia, Wash. to Westport to kick off the festival where the U.S. Coast Guard's color guard presented the colors and La Stella sang the Star Spangled Banner while the flag was raised.
"The ultimate goal of the event is to benefit the Wounded Warriors Transition Unit at [Joint Base Lewis-McChord] by establishing our Trips for Troops program from the proceeds derived from the festival," La Stella said. "All of us associated with the festival are either veterans or come from families with long histories of service within the Armed Forces, so when we were considering beneficiaries we immediately started thinking about the U.S. military personnel."

The idea for Trips for Troops came from Mark and Desiree Dodson, owners of the Westport Inn and coordinators of the blues festival. They went to La Stella and asked him to help with the coordination.
"We wanted to bring music and events to Westport," said Mark Dodson. "Then we thought 'what more can we do'' We see many people from JBLM come here on Friday stressed and leave on Sunday more relaxed than when they came."
A trip includes a two night stay at the Westport Inn, a chartered fishing trip and dinner at a local restaurant.
"We have 10 trips already donated by local businesses," said Dodson.
Admission to the two day event was free to active duty servicemembers. Lee Oskar and Friends closed the festival on Sept. 12.
"We are honored to have the military personnel attend this wonderful musical event in Westport and are looking forward to a long relationship where we can benefit those serving our country," La Stella said.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16