Service members and their families at Shaw Air Force Base can take advantage of a night of free entertainment with their military IDs tonight at the Sumter fairgrounds.
The Family Fun Night is sponsored by Kangaroo Express as part of the Salute Our Troops tour, currently making its way across the Southeast through Labor Day. The tour aims to give back to military families, while at the same time raising money for military causes.
“We want them to know that they and their loved ones have not been forgotten,” said Don O’Neal.
A retired Army soldier, O’Neal has started a second career as a drag racer and will have his custom 2009 Mullis Salute Our Troops Dragster on display from 5 until 8 p.m. today at the Memorial Fair building at 30 Artillery Drive.
“That’ll let the kids get inside it and take pictures,” he said. “Most people don’t get to see a car like that up close.”
The night also features free food and refreshments, kids’ games, live music by country musicians Jamie Tate and Outlaw 21, and a paratrooper show by an all-veteran parachute team, featuring a tandem jump by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.
Tickets for Family Fun Night are free with a military ID and can be picked up at local Kangaroo Express stores. There is a limit of four tickets per ID.
Earlier Friday, Salute Our Troops will stop at the Kangaroo at 1281 Broad St. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. raising money for the USO of South Carolina, the South Carolina Military Family Care Association and the Fisher House Foundation, which operate “comfort homes” for veterans and their families during treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals.
O’Neal estimates that in the first half of the tour, he’s made similar stops at about 80 Kangaroo Express stores across the country, sometimes hitting two a day. Most Kangaroo stations are located within 25 miles of a military base, he said. After today’s events, his next stop will be Myrtle Beach.
“All the money we raise will stay in South Carolina,” he said. “It’s not going to go to North Carolina or Virginia or anywhere else. All the money raised from tour stops in the state will stay right here.”
Even after tonight, Salute Our Troops will accept donations online at kesalute.com.
Reach Bristow Marchant at (803) 774-1272.