Lady Antebellum honors Tri-State veteran at Toby Keith's Bar

CINCINNATI -- It was supposed to be a small, private concert for about 50 people at Toby Keith's Bar in Cincinnati, but it turned into so much more for one local veteran.

Lady Antebellum was there to honor Gary Staten, who enlisted in 2009 and was in charge of loading bombs into planes.

"When they started talking, saying they wanted to recognize somebody in the crowd, all of us were thinking 'they're talking about somebody else' but when they said Gary Staten, we were all like 'excuse me, did we just hear you right?'" he said.

In November 2012, Staten was overseas in Afghanistan fighting for our country.

"Now is the time with the holiday season where everybody gathers together as a family and as communities in celebrating the season," Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum told O'Rourke. "I think you definitely feel that emptiness a lot more during these winter kind of holiday months."

Staten says his honorable discharge came at the worst possible time.

"We were struggling," he said. "Nobody understood that the government shut down, I don't get a paycheck."

Staten said he went through the United Way for contacts and help.

Lady Antebellum is touring the country as part of ABC's Home for the Holidays tour. They're celebrating veterans through films that are written, produced and directed by veterans. For Lady Antebellum, there's nothing better than hearing how their music touches others.

"There's something really special about country music and its ties to men and women in service," Band member Charles Kelley said. "One of the coolest things we get to hear is when someone says a certain song that they would listen to while they were over in Afghanistan and it helped get them through a time where it reminded them of home."

Print this article Back to Top