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Concert to honor vets

James House has never served in the military, but the musician figures he owes a debt to those who wore the uniform. "When you have somebody out there willing to guard the front line, that allows guys like me to go out and learn how to play guitar," he said. "They gave us our freedom."

That sense of appreciation is precisely why the five-member James House Band, along with Nashville country-rock stars Darryl Worley and Steve Azar, will be performing Saturday evening at the Southern Oregon Veterans Benefit concert in Central Point.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Lithia Motors Amphitheater at the Jackson County Expo. Reserved seats are $35 each, with lawn seats going for $25. Parking is $4 per vehicle.

Tickets are available at the Big R store in White City, radio station KRWQ, local Grange Co-op stores and at www.sovb.org.

The four-hour concert is sponsored by the nonprofit Southern Oregon Veterans Benefit, established in 1996 to help jobless veterans get back on their feet, said organizer Russ McBride, a former Marine Corps sergeant who served two tours in Vietnam.

"This is a 'welcome home' for the veterans coming back now," he said.

Money raised from the concert will be used to help them find full employment, said McBride, who can be reached at 541-778-3171.

House, 55, whose father, John House, was a 100 percent disabled World War II-era Army Air Corps veteran, said he wanted to do something to help all veterans.

His father, a longtime Medford resident, recently passed away. His mother, Robbie, still lives in Medford, and his brother, John House, is a retired Army enlisted man who lives in Medford with his family.

"We'd love to sell this concert out and raise a ton of money for veterans," James House said. "In World War II, they had a long ride in a ship coming back to decompress a bit. These guys coming back now never got that chance.

"Regardless whether you agree with the politics, these veterans made huge sacrifices to put their lives on the line for us."

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.