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Charity helps connect veterans to concert tickets

Vet Tix is a non-profit that provides tickets to events, such as the ProMedica Summer Concert Series, to local veterans.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Pat Benatar fans came from all parts of northwest Ohio to watch the performance at the ProMedica Summer Concert Series Friday night, including Tom Smith from Findlay.

"I love her," Smith said. "Growing up, she was one of the ones that we loved to go see."

Smith is a 21-year veteran of the Navy, serving on multiple ships and bases.

"I was a storekeeper which now is logistics," Smith said. "We did all the supply on the ships. I was on five different ships and five different shore stations."

Smith has gone to more than 20 concerts over the last few years; watching acts such as Chris Stapleton, the Rolling Stones and Guns N' Roses, for little to no cost thanks to Vet Tix, a charity that distributes tickets to veterans to various events.

ProMedica donates concert tickets to the group for each of its summer concert series events.

"We can send our members to these types of events as a way to make up for that lost time, to rebuild the memories, the time spent lost," Vet Tix chief strategy officer Steven Weintraub said. "That's the least we can do as a way to thank them for their service and sacrifice."

Veterans must register with the group and verify their service, at which point they are connected to thousands of concerts, sporting events and more, with the only cost being the shipping of tickets.

Smith says this last year has been great for getting back to concerts, after missing out the last few years because of COVID-19.

"It's just nice not to be shut in, you know? It's nice to go out, see people," Smith said. "A lot of people I know, I tell people about Vet Tix and First Tix."

First Tix is a similar charity that offers tickets to first responders. The Vet Tix website says they've provided hundreds of thousands of tickets over the last 14 years.

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