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By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Sarah Carper Headlines Veteran's Appreciation Concert

Elks Lodge Hosts Event in Support of Local Veterans


November 2, 2023

Courtesy Photo

Saturday night's Appreciation Concert brought in a full house, as glasses were raised in a toast.

SIDNEY--Saturday, October 28, was a special night in Sidney, as the Elks Lodge No. 1894 hosted the second annual Veteran's Appreciation Concert. A big crowd of veterans and their families came out in the snowy weather to honor veterans and raise money for veteran-related causes, and to enjoy the music of local favorites Mud Country and country and folk artist Sarah Carper of Casper, Wyoming.

The event was made possible through the efforts of many, but according to Cheyenne County Veteran's Service director Fred Wiedeburg, the lion's share of credit goes to Justin and Meredith Langley for their efforts in organizing the event and bringing in the talent to entertain the crowd. Wiedeburg is a 5 year veteran of the U.S. Navy and a 16 year Veteran of the U.S. Army. His wife, Donna, is a 5 year veteran of the U.S. Army.

The event is now two years old, and features a full dinner and a silent auction, with gifts and prizes donated by local businesses and community members. All money raised goes to help Cheyenne County veterans and their families.

Fred Wiedeburg said, "Justin Langley is not the kind of guy looking for credit, but he and his wife Meredith do most of the work to put this event on. He pays for all of this, and then takes the door to try to recover a bit of the money to cover the expenses. Myself and my office manager Whitley Whatley then bring in the veteran's displays and the gifts and items to be auctioned off with the silent auction."

Wiedeburg then detailed how last year's event helped many local veterans who were struggling during the late Fall and Winter Holiday season. "Last year we took a bunch of the money that was raised and went to the City Offices and said, "here, use this to pay off the utility bills of some vets who are struggling. I know you know who they are", and that was a great thing. And we also mailed out $50 and $100 dollar gift cards from Safeway for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many vets are struggling, and with the way prices are exploding lately, every little bit helps."

Wiedeburg spoke about an Office Dedication that is coming up on Thursday, November 9 at the Cheyenne County Veteran's Services Office, located at 920 Jackson Street in Sidney. He said, "We're having a dedication ceremony for a Vietnam veteran who lost his life from prostate cancer, presumably contracted due to his service in Vietnam. His widow and son will be there, and we have a beautiful plaque to present to them." He said that all are encouraged to attend the event, which will occur from 10 a.m. to noon on the 9th.

"Many people don't realize that all service members give their lives for this country. Some of them all at once, and they're killed in combat. But the rest of us spend our lives giving our lives a piece at a time. In my era, in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is from contaminated dust particles you inhale. Almost all of us have respiratory and breathing problems, asthma, and cancer. So, some veterans give their lives all at once, and the rest of us give it on an installment plan", Wiedeburg said.

Wiedeburg also noted that their will be a Bean Feed this Saturday, November 4, at the Elks Lodge from 5 to 7 p.m. "It's a free event that a lot of people enjoy. It's free to come, but there is also a free-will donation, and that money goes to the American Legion and the VFW."

The Elks Club was properly adorned for the occasion, and Wiedeburg and Whatley made sure to bring the uniforms of all the service branches, which were placed with honor near the front of the stage. As always, the Missing Man table was set, honoring those that did not come home, and could only attend the event in spirit.

Mud Country took the stage to start off the night's entertainment, and the local favorites entertained the crowd with their "Straight Out of Nashville" original music. The dance floor filled and everyone got into the groove of the music. The bidding on the items of the Silent Auction started to heat up, even as the snow started to fall heavier outside. The evening wrapped up with a performance by Sarah Carper, who entertained the crowd with her beautiful voice belting out country and folk inspired songs.

This was the second annual Veteran's Appreciation Concert, and by the turnout and energy seen at the event, many more will be held in the future.

Cheyenne County is the home of many active duty service men and women, and has a large veteran community. Organizations like the Elks Club and others consistently show why Cheyenne County is a place were veterans are welcome and cared for, with citizens who respect and support their sacrifices and service.


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