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Rock and Rally for the Troops

Day of fun to benefit the wounded

JBLM's Bettie Brigade showed support at the Rock and Rally for the Troops in 2012. Courtesy photo

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Everyone wants to show support for the troops but most aren't sure how to go about it. What if it were as easy as showing up to a concert in Tacoma and sipping a beverage in the beer garden? The first weekend in August it is just that simple.

Saturday, Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., everyone is welcome at the Rock the Dock Pub & Grill, 535 Dock St. in Tacoma, for the third annual Rock and Rally for the Troops event. Event co-sponsors, Brothers In Arms Motorcycle Club and Rock the Dock owner Gwendolyn Stence, were inspired by Operation Ward 57, which has been taking care of the wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, since 2007.

"We've planned another great event and have even more going on than in years past," said Operation Ward 57 executive director Brittney Hamilton. "We hope military, veterans and anyone who wants to show their support comes out."

To that end, Rock and Rally will welcome a special guest speaker this year for the first time and Operation Ward 57 supporter Cpl. Wesley Leon-Barrientos will address the crowd at 5:30 p.m. Leon-Barrientos, 28, is a three-time Purple Heart recipient and double amputee who spent 18 months recovering at Walter Reed after sustaining severe injuries during his third deployment to Iraq. While he will share his own story, he also wants to raise awareness for veterans' issues, which is a tenet of Operation Ward 57's work.

"I chose Wesley to speak because as a Wounded Warrior Mentor in our Honor & Courage program he's willing to share his life's journey through his active-duty service, his injuries and back to his present line of work spreading inspiration, hope and strength on Veteran and disability related issues," explained Hamilton.

At the start of the day, Brothers In Arms Motorcycle Club will sponsor a Motorcycle Dice Run with onsite registration available that day at 9 a.m. There is a $15 suggested donation per bike, with an extra $10 per additional rider. The ride will begin at 10 a.m. with the last bike returning by 3 p.m. There will even be a pre-breakfast ride available at 9 a.m.

For those 21 years or older, the beer garden will open at 3 p.m. Then the outdoor music festival, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. will include performances by Riot in Rhythm, Cody Beebe & The Crooks, Ben Union, High Noon Horizon, The Nixon Rodeo and a special rendition of the national anthem by Seattle singer Amanda Hardy. Suggested donation at the door for the concert is $10 at the door.

Finally, from 4 to 7 p.m., there will be a silent auction chock full of donated items and featuring autographed pieces from the Seattle Sounders and popular rock band Alice in Chains.

"All funds raised from the motorcycle run, auctions, Operation Ward 57 merchandise sales and individual donations will go directly to the support of the wounded servicemembers, their families and the medical staff at Walter Reed," Hamilton stated. "We've raised over $12,000 the past two years through the Rock and Rally event. We hope that trend continues this year."

For more information, visit To learn more about Operation Ward 57's work, visit

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