Boeing signs on as Lt. Dan Weekend title sponsor

info@islandpacket.comAugust 26, 2013 

In this Beaufort Gazette file photo, Gary Sinise entertains a crowd gathered near the stage at the start of the 2010 Shrimp Festival and Lt. Dan Weekend at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort.

STAFF PHOTO

Next month's Lt. Dan Band benefit concert, which is relocating from Beaufort to Charleston, has landed Boeing Co. as the title sponsor.

The Sept. 14 show at The Citadel's Johnson Hagood football stadium benefits the Independence Fund, which raises money to provides injured troops with medical help and other assistance they don't get through normal military channels.

Steve Danyluk, founder of the Independence Fund, announced in April the concert would move from Beaufort to The Citadel in Charleston in the hopes of attracting a larger audience and raising more money. About 4,200 people attended last year's concert at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

Danyluk said in early August that 400 tickets had been sold for the concert, which was in danger of being called off. He had hoped to sell at least 20,000 tickets by the Sept. 14 concert.

Attempts Monday to reach Independence Fund representatives for comment were unsuccessful.

"It's a big step forward for this all-volunteer effort to support the troops," Charleston resident Lisa Sternke told The (Charleston) Post and Courier. She is an Independence Fund volunteer who is married to a disabled veteran and who coordinated the Boeing sponsorship.

Headlining the event is Oscar-nominated actor Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band. He played a character named Lt. Dan, a disabled Vietnam War veteran, in the 1994 hit film "Forrest Gump."

"Having the support of a leading company like Boeing does so much to help move forward our efforts to help these servicemen and their families as much as we can," Sinise said in statement.

Boeing has more than 6,500 employees at its North Charleston operations, where it makes parts for and assembles the 787 Dreamliner.

The majority of events associated with Lt. Dan Weekend were held around Beaufort County in the event's first three years, but most of them will move to Charleston, Danyluk announced this past April.

Sagging ticket sales notwithstanding, the move has worked more or less as planned, Danyluk said earlier this month: The Independence Fund had received about $8 million in donations in a 10-week period.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier contributed to this report.

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