Band Together for Veterans

By John Fernandez

Sunday May 15th saw veterans, musicians and the community come together in celebration of our local veterans and in support for helping end veteran suicide at the Band Together for Veterans event. The Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues foundation, in partnership with MA22, a local veteran’s organization focused on community engagement and suicide prevention, raised awareness of this problem and raised funds to help provide some of the resources needed combat it. The services the MA22 organization provides includes treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain injury, and other disabilities. They also provide an opportunity to experience treatment outside of the Veteran Affairs Administration facilities and provide programs at no cost to the veteran. 

Each band that performed that day had at least one veteran musician member in its roster.  Each band put on inspired performances and was greeted by an appreciative crowd. We thank all of the musicians for donating their time and incredible talent to this worthy cause. As a result of the tremendous response and generosity from the community, to date we have been able to raise $10,000 of much-needed funding for local programs.

The participating bands and their veteran members were:

Bruce Foster  – Intro

Smokey Grey

Ken Schechter on drums – US Army

John Burwasser on bass – US Army


                John Fernandez on guitar and vocals – US Navy

                John Hanney on harmonica and vocals – US Navy

Jo Wymer

                Jo Wymer on guitar and vocals – US Navy

Rogues on the Run

                Jack Hoban on guitar and vocals – US Marines

                Vel Johnson on saxophone – US Marines

Chuck Lambert

                Ed Trygar on Drums – US Air Force

                Kevin Brennan on bass – US Navy

Scroll down to see the great photographs taken at this event and be sure to put this on your calendar for next year!

The Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation (JSJB
F) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization open to anyone interested in supporting jazz and blues. The foundation’s mission is to preserve, promote, and perpetuate jazz, blues, and other indigenous music forms in New Jersey.  The JSJBF is recognized as an active and compliant charity by the state of New Jersey due to their support of charitable organizations throughout the state.

Ocean First Bank: Founded in 1902, is a $11.8 billion regional bank providing financial services throughout New Jersey and in the major metropolitan markets of Philadelphia, New York Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Boston and is one of the largest and oldest community-based financial institutions headquartered in New Jersey.  Funding assistance for this event has been provided as part of their Hero Sponsorship Program

Vietnam Veterans Association Chapter 12– VVA’s mission is to help veterans, without regard to race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual preference, or national origin.  “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”