Celebration for a cause: Pearsall raises money for disabled troops

  • Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quadruple amputee, John Peck, enters the concert with the other veterans to a standing ovation. The Lt. Dan Band with Gary Sinise played at Waterfront Park for 74 wounded veterans and caregivers on Sept 15.The Independence Fund hosted the Lt. Dan Weekend for the third time in Beaufort from Sept 10 through the 16. PHOTOS PROVIDED

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On May 1 decorated combat veteran Stacy Pearsall will host “A Celebration for a Cause” to raise money for severely disabled troops from the War on Terror. The event will take place at The Citadel’s Johnson Hagood Stadium in the Pearson Lounge on the fourth floor from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $85. Pearsall will also kick off ticket sales for Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band Concert to be held on Sept. 14.

After being wounded twice in Iraq, Pearsall spent over a year in recovery and went on to own her own business, the Charleston Center for Photography located on Upper King Street. Despite the demands of being a small business owner, she dedicates countless hours to assisting fellow veterans and volunteering for numerous veteran service organizations such as The Independence Fund. Her goal in hosting the fundraiser is to increase awareness for disabled veterans and gain support for The Independence Fund, an all-volunteer non-profit 501(c)3 whose board of directors is comprised entirely of combat veterans.

“Due to the withdrawal of military forces from Iraq and the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, I feel it’s important not to forget the sacrifices of so many men and women,” explains Stacy Pearsall, retired United States Air Force Staff Sergeant. “The wars may end, but their impacts will last a lifetime. As long as I am able, I’ll continue to champion on behalf of veterans and do my best to provide them with the tools they need to have true fulfillment again.”

Like Pearsall, more than 60,000 service men and women have been severely injured in the War on Terror. She works through organizations like the Independence Fund to bring about physical and emotional healing to veterans’ lives. The money and sponsorship she gains through “A Celebration for a Cause” will go toward providing state-of-the-art prosthetics and wheelchairs for severely wounded troops, and hosting the Lt. Dan Weekend Retreat (LDW4).

The six-day LDW4 Retreat, which starts on Sept. 9, will bring 150 severely injured veterans and their caregivers to South Carolina’s Lowcountry, and culminate in a concert by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band along with other national celebrities at The Citadel’s Hagood Stadium in Charleston on Sept. 14.

“Stacy attended the LDW3 Retreat last year as a veteran, and also used her skills as a photography educator to provide a camera class for the veterans,” said Steven Danyluk, Independence Fund founder. “She saw firsthand how amazing the program is for veterans like her, and we’re proud to have her onboard to help raise awareness for our organization.”

Recently the White House awarded Pearsall as a Champion of Change for her tireless work with veterans, and on May 4, The Citadel will also be honoring her work by presenting her with an Honorary Doctoral Degree at their commencement ceremony.

“I’m incredibly humbled to be recognized by The Citadel for my work with America’s heroes,” said Stacy Pearsall. “To celebrate, I figured I’d host a party in honor of America’s fighting men and women, and invite members of the Lowcountry community to come out and meet some of them in person.”

The evening will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, door prizes, entertainment and a live auction featuring high valued items from local businesses such as Quantum Sail Loft, Old South Carriage Company, Ocean Winds Golf Course, round trip airline tickets good for travel anywhere within the Continental United States provided by American Airlines, official air carrier for the Lt. Dan Weekend and more, said Pearsall. “In attendance will be a number of Charleston-area veterans, and I welcome everyone from the region to come and interact with them. Our special guest will be Sgt. Major Jesse Acosta, who will talk about his challenges as a wounded combat veteran blinded by a bomb explosion in Iraq and how his experiences through The Independence Fund helped improve his quality of life. In addition to Jesse’s extraordinary story, I will also share my own story of life under fire, how I was wounded and my own challenges of survival and recovery.”

“If you haven’t had a chance to hear Stacy’s story in her own words, then you should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity,” said Bo Moore, dean of The Citadel’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences. “She is an extraordinary person who has lived through life-altering experiences that most people cannot begin to imagine. Her presentation places the audience in her shoes, provokes laughter and tears and, in the process, gives her listeners important insights not only into her work as an award-winning combat photographer but also as member of a generation of young soldiers that has sacrificed much to safeguard their fellow Americans and, indeed, the citizens of the world.”

To purchase tickets ($85) for “A Celebration for a Cause” or to donate to The Independence Fund, please visit www.ldw4.org or contact Stacy Pearsall at 843-720-3105 or via email at Stacy@CCforP.org. Tickets for the Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band Concert will go on sale May 1. For more information about the concert, please contact Steven Danyluk with The Independence Fund via email independencefund@gmail.com.

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