DAV members honored through partnership with Carolina Country Music Fest, Visit Myrtle Beach
“After graduating from high school, my plan was to have a lifelong career in the United States Navy,” said Navy veteran and DAV life member Jacci Tyes. “However, my military career was abruptly cut short due to an injury. I am a goal-oriented woman with very specific dreams. And being medically discharged from the military crushed a big dream of mine.”
However, Tyes said she heard about the services DAV offers veterans and went to see one of DAV’s veterans advocates in 1997. She was able to increase her earned disability compensation and access vocational rehabilitation so she could begin a new career.
In June, Tyes and nine other disabled veterans were honored at the Carolina Country Music Fest (CCMF), thanks to a partnership between the festival, Visit Myrtle Beach and DAV.
The veterans, who have overcome life-changing illnesses or injuries and continues to lead lives of service for fellow veterans, gathered on the main stage prior to the concerts the first evening of the festival to receive DAV’s Victories for Veterans Award—cheered on by a crowd of more than 20,000 people.
“My life membership with DAV has given me a sense of purpose,” said Tyes, who in 2016 was elected by fellow disabled veterans in her state as the first female commander of DAV Department of North Carolina. “It has helped me to cope with my new normal.”
“We’re glad Jacci and other members of DAV could join us here in beautiful Myrtle Beach for the Carolina Country Music Fest,” said Mike Stephens, CCMF director. “It’s always an honor to host those who’ve sacrificed for the freedoms we all hold so dear.”
Other attendees representing DAV included Past National Commander Ron Hope, of Clemmons, N.C.; Daniel Priestley, of Valley City, Ohio; Brenda Lynn Cox, of Logan, Ohio; Edwin “Gene” Apgar, of Struthers, Ohio; Vince Dec, of Xenia, Ohio; Billy Helton, of Independence, Ky.; Adam Greathouse, of Kenna, W.Va.; Arlene Turner Magee, of Atlanta; and Rick Ard, of Columbia, S.C.
Festival organizers said that honoring the veteran community naturally fit with an event like CCMF, the East Coast’s largest three-day outdoor country music festival, which included headliners like Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Montgomery Gentry.
“It was an honor for Carolina Country Music Fest to host these distinguished veterans on behalf of DAV,” said Bob Durkin, president of Full House Productions, the festival’s producer. “Giving back to and supporting the men and women of our armed forces is ingrained in CCMF as much as it is country music, and we’ll continue to recognize members of our military for years to come.”
“Jacci and the other attendees did a great job representing not only DAV but the millions of other disabled veterans who have overcome life’s challenges with some help from our organization,” said then-National Commander Dave Riley. “I’m glad we had a chance to share these veterans’ stories with the patriotic people attending CCMF.”