My name is Dustin Row. I am a father, musician (Where’s Charlie? and This Must Be the Band), and veteran of the Iraq War 2004-2005. While in Iraq I was with the 724th Transportation Unit of Bartonville, IL. Our mission in Iraq was to escort fuel convoys primarily to Baghdad and the Anbar province in Western Iraq. During our tour we experienced many fire fights, IED’s, and land mines, none worse than the attack on our convoy April 9th, 2004. After a failed email, we drove a support convoy directly into an ongoing offensive between the 3rd Calvary Armored Division of the U.S. Army and Shiite militiamen of the Mahdi Army. Enemy fighters were estimated to be in the numbers of three to four hundred. Our convoy consisted of eight armed support vehicles along with eighteen American civilian driven fuel trucks. Needless to say, we were completely picked apart and destroyed. My 50 cal gun truck was one out of six trucks to even make it through the three mile long kill zone. My truck was also the only truck out of the entire convoy that didn’t have any dead or wounded in it. In the end, two of my fellow soldiers, PFC Gregory Goodrich and SGT Elmer Krause, were killed in action. SSG Matt Maupin was captured by insurgents – his remains were not discovered until several years later. Five civilian drivers were killed and one is still missing. Fourteen soldiers and civilians were also wounded in the attack.
I, like most combat veterans, often struggle with “Why?” – Why am I still alive? Why did my friends die? Why do I have all of my fingers and toes? Why did I fire into that building during that firefight? Who else was in there? Why didn’t I do more during that firefight? Ultimately it comes back to “Why am I still alive?”
To say my life has changed drastically since the idea of Songs4Soldiers popped into my head would be an honest understatement. S4S started with the idea of helping “4” combat veterans a year. Since 2013, S4S has helped over 100 veterans and their families as well as 6 veteran organizations. Songs4Soldiers is no longer a veteran organization; it’s a way of life.
Every human being faces some kind of tough time in their life, especially our combat veterans. Being asked to fight in a war is the easy part. Dealing with what happened, and things that you saw or did, is the hard part. When the guns go silent, and you’re home, that’s when it all finally settles in for you. It can lead to bad decisions and depression. It can very easily lead you to a dark, dark place. I was a lucky one in every sense of the word. I made it through Iraq unscathed, and came home to an incredibly loving family and community. Most do not.
Songs4Soldiers was created and exists solely to HELP. Songs4Soldiers exists to give that second chance. Songs4Soldiers exists to be that last option when you’re down and out. Songs4Soldiers exists for you, the combat veteran. It’s truly simple. We operate on a moral code of taking care of one another. Just like on the battle field.
Every September in Columbia, IL we hold a family friendly benefit concert with St. Louis’s best cover bands. Kid friendly attractions, food and drinks are all cheaply available. It truly is an incredible night to get together with family and friends to support our deserving combat veterans. 100% of the proceeds goes directly to aiding and assisting our combat veterans as they face daily struggles and hardships.
If you or your company would like to help support the event in the form of a donation or sponsorship please contact Dustin Row personally. Your support would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.
Please always keep the family members of our fallen and wounded in your thoughts and prayers. For many of them the war never ends.
~Love and Light~
Founder & President, Songs4Soldiers