Home Local News 4 bands lined up for 4th annual Rockin’ for Veterans

4 bands lined up for 4th annual Rockin’ for Veterans

Photos by William R. Toler

ROCKINGHAM — Four local bands will be performing for the fourth year for the same cause.

 Saturday will mark the fourth annual Rockin’ for Veterans event, hosted by VFW Post 4203 Auxiliary. 

Auxiliary President “Rockin’” Robin Roberts said this year’s proceeds will likely go toward care packages to the local national guard troops who were recently deployed, as well as to help Richmond County veterans and other natives who are serving overseas. 

In February, the Auxiliary sent 24 packages — which included cereal and nutrition bars, candy, Pop Tarts, beef jerky and bottles of Texas Pete hot sauce — to the U.S. Army 204th Clearance Company stationed at the time at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. 

Another three boxes were packed to send to local troops stationed in Japan and South Korea. 

The first year, funds were raised to help pay for the Iwo Jima memorial in Veterans Memorial Park near the VFW. The 2017 show raised $1,800 to provide care packages to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron.

 Last year’s event was postponed from September to November due to Hurricane Florence. 

All four bands — the Safety Committee, Jonathan Robinson, Hardwired and the Ponder Project — have played at least three of the shows, with some musicians performing at all four. 

The Safety Committee is the only band to perform every show since the event began in 2016. 

“We’ve got to support our vets… and we love to play,” said guitarist and vocalist Chuck Smith. 

The band also features Lauren Laviner on vocals, Mervyn Celso on guitar and vocals, Patrick Razon on bass and vocals, Sammy Quick on keyboards and Jim Moody on drums. 

Singer/songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Robinson and his band — drummer John Martin and bassist Bill Caswell — will be the second to hit the stage. 

Robinson has performed at the past three events, with Smith on bass in 2017. 

“We really think it’s important to do things that support veterans,” Robinson said. “Bill, our bass player, served and we all appreciate the fact that we’re free to play music and do the things we love.  

“And we love Robin and her dedication to put these things together!” he added. “Not to mention it’s cool to get the local musicians together and hang out.” 

Although they’re often billed as a Charlotte-based band, two members of Hardwired — guitarist Philip Neal and bassist Bub Barrett — were raised in Richmond County. Drummer Mark McRae grew up on the other side of the Pee Dee River in Anson County. 

“Hardwired is just honored to be playing Rockin’ for Veterans again,” said Neal. “All of the members of the band’s fathers and many of our friends have served and we deeply appreciate their service. 

“My father (the late Dr. John William Neal) was in World War II, which to me is still the greatest generation but all that have served honorably are probably deserving of that status,” he added. “I thank God everyday for the men and women of our military who protect our freedoms and if we can make a small difference by providing some good old rock ‘n’ roll, we are in.” 

Hardwired played the first three — with Virgil Bowler sitting in for McRae the first year — but had a scheduling conflict last year. 


Headlining the event for the third year, second in a row, will be the Ponder Project. 

Singer Kevin Butler’s first gig with Ponder was at the first Rockin’ for Veterans — after fronting Mother Reign earlier in the event. 

Guitarist John Baker has performed at all four, the first two with The Way She Goes.  

“I’m fortunate to be able to be a part of such a great event,” he said. “It’s always a great time and an even better cause.” 

Bassist Jason Singleton played the second year, also with The Way She Goes, before he and Baker joined drummer Shot Allen, Butler and vocalist Billie Adeimy in the Ponder Project. 

“I love being a part of Rockin’ for Veterans!” said Adeimy. “It’s always a fun time with a great local crowd for a wonderful cause!” 

Admission is $10 for the show, which starts at 5 p.m. at the VFW Post, 106 Old River Road, Rockingham.

 Anyone who can’t attend but would like to make a contribution can contact Roberts.




Previous articleJimmie Johnson and fellow NASCAR drivers team with breast cancer survivors to paint pit wall pink
Next articleLady Raiders fall short at SAC-leading Pinecrest
Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.