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Help for ?the veterans

News-Sun - 3/11/2017

Three years ago, Anna Marie Feeney realized a need to help the veterans of Highlands County and in doing so, wanted to bring entertainment to Avon Park’s Main Street.

The Battle of the Bands was born, and that grew into Vet Jam … both of which have done exactly what Feeney wanted to accomplish. To help the county’s veterans.

As the group’s Facebook page says, “The goal of this organization is to raise funds to help veterans’ projects and charities. This will be largely accomplished through outdoor entertainment events that will focus on bringing community together for a good cause. One such event is Vet Jam (formerly the Battle of the Bands), which is held the first Saturday in March on Main Street in Avon Park, Florida, the primary event.”

Feeney actually tries to have a couple such events a year, plus the placement of Christmas trees along Avon Park’s Mile-long Mall. All of which are done by volunteers with all of the funds raised, with the exception of operating costs, allocated to special projects that honor American veterans. If it’s a charity that benefits from the events, it is a charity that can prove that at least 90 percent of what they receive directly benefits American veterans, according to the group’s Facebook page.

Thus far, Feeney and her Battle of the Bands Inc. non-profit organization have presented grants to the Rotary Freedom Flight, Project Vet Relief and Paws for Veterans, the latter of which provides service dogs for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.

This year’s grants will go to three high school seniors who are pre-enlisted in the military. The grant, Feeney said, will be called the “Michael J. Feeney Battle of the Bands Veterans of Tomorrow Grant.” Also expecting to benefit from one of this year’s two events is the VFW Veteran’s Relief Fund, the PTSD spouse support group and the Military Sea Services Museum.

In addition to the music events that raise the funds, the Battle of the Bands group will conduct a veterans food service project, called “You Serve Us, Not We Serve You,” on Veterans Day.

The Battle of the Bands organization was started in 2014 to honor her father - Michael Joseph Feeney Sr., who passed away in 2014 - and all other veterans.

“He raised me with a sense of duty,” Feeney told the former Highlands Today.

The next Vet Jam Music Series is set for the second Saturday in July.

“We owe them so much for everything we have,” said Feeney.

On behalf of the veterans across the county, we give our kudos to Feeney. She saw a need among those who volunteered to protect us, and she did something about it.

For more information about The Battle of the Bands Inc., go to, call 863-440-4554, or email


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