A lack of money could doom a plan to again bring to Beaufort more than 50 severely wounded combat veterans and actor Gary Sinise's 13-piece Lt. Dan Band.
The Independence Fund needs to raise at least $75,000 to fund the sequel to last year's Lt. Dan Weekend, when more than 50 veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families were given an all-expenses-paid trip to the city in October during the Beaufort Shrimp Festival.
The festival featured a performance by Sinise and his band that drew thousands to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
The Beaufort nonprofit organization wants to play host to the veterans and Sinise for Lt. Dan Weekend 2 Sept. 14-18, but has had difficulty lining up sponsors for the event, said Steve Danyluk, Independence Fund founder.
"I'm not surprised, but I'm certainly frustrated," Danyluk said. "We're looking to companies that can kick in $10,000 or $15,000. That's nothing compared to what some of these companies throw around. If we don't turn the corner pretty soon, we may need to consider canceling the event."
More than $125,000 was raised to pay the $93,000 tab for last year's event, Danyluk said.
The remaining money was distributed as grants and spent on therapeutic equipment for veterans, he said.
This year's event is scheduled to include a concert by Sinise and his band in Waterfront Park on Sept. 16, a 5K run/walk through downtown Beaufort and other events, according to organizers.
It would not coincide with the Shrimp Festival, which is Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
Unlike last year, concertgoers would be charged $25 to attend Sinise's performance, Danyluk said.
Danyluk said he decided to charge admission to the concert to help raise more money for robotic wheelchairs, therapy and other care for severely injured veterans.
Organizers should know by mid-July whether they have the funding necessary to stage the event, he said.