Grace Anna Highlights the 2nd Annual Salute Our Heroes Gala

Several years ago while shopping for a greeting card I stumbled over one that read something like this, “once in a while you meet someone who leaves a footprint on your heart and you are never ever the same.” I have had the privilege of this happening twice in my life; my husband 10 years ago and, in 2013, a little girl name Grace Anna. The one difference is, up until this weekend, I had never actually met Grace Anna but had only knew her through Facebook. Scrolling through Facebook one night I saw a video a friend had posted of this sweet little girl singing the National Anthem, I was captured.

How did this little girl who could only be about 2 years old, certainly no more than 3, know the words to the national anthem so well?

Grace Anna is the daughter of Angie and Jeff Rodgers and they reside in Kentucky. Grace Anna has a rare form of dwarfism called Conradi Hunermann Syndrome and has dealt with such health issues as being born blind due to cataracts, severe kyphosis and scoliosis of the spine. Doctors tried to persuade her parents to abort on five different occasions, but this was not something they would consider. Grace Anna has overcome many obstacles in her now 4 year old life.

Grace Anna and her mother, Angie Rogers

Grace Anna began singing at only 16 months, and she loves to sing.

The “Grace Anna Sings” Facebook page, at the time of this writing, has over 600,000 followers. She has changed lives; she has lifted her followers out of their worst days and thousands have posted how much they love this child. It is hard to explain how you can love someone you have never met but Grace Anna has such spirit and personality that I don’t know that it needs to be explained. I often watch her video of “Amazing Grace” before going to bed each night, and recently my hope of meeting this wonder came to fruition.

Grace Anna and her family were traveling to Topeka, Kansas to attend the Military Veteran Project’s 2nd Annual Salute Our Heroes Gala, where she would be singing the National Anthem.  Grace Anna’s family are strong supporters of our military and have family members who have served.

The mission of the Military Veterans Project is “to advocate, educate, and honor our military veterans and families through program support.” The program has assisted veterans and service members with medical advocacy, PTSD treatments, suicide prevention and other services. The Military Veteran Project was created by Melissa Jarboe in honor of her late husband, Sgt. Jamie Jarboe. For more information on the project please go to www.militaryveteranproject.org

The guest speaker for the evening was Bobby Henline, a veteran of Desert Storm who re-enlisted after Sept 11th, 2001. While serving in Iraq the Humvee he was in was hit by a roadside bomb; he was the only survivor out of 5 men. Bobby suffered severe burns over 38% of his body, lost his left hand and had over 40 surgeries while being hospitalized for 6 months. Bobby now does motivational speaking and stand-up comedy. The gala included a cocktail hour, dinner, and a silent auction of a wide variety of donated items, which raised approximately $3000 for the project.

Grace Anna, dressed in a beautiful red dress, black jacket, and matching red bow in her hair sang the National Anthem with as much heart and soul as a child can muster. After dinner was served at the gala Grace Anna’s older brother, Isaiah, carried her out into the lobby area.  As they walked by I said to Grace Anna, “Hi, Grace Anna, my name is Juanita, can I shake your hand?” She responded, in the sweetest, softest voice, “Hi Juanita.” I thought she would shake my hand but what she did next left me in tears. She did not shake my hand but leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, then took my face in her hands and said “now, you give me a kiss” I gave her a kiss on the cheek.

If you have not had the privilege of watching her videos, reading her web page or seeing her pictures that are posted on Facebook, you must treat yourself. Your heart will be captured.

www.graceannasings.com

 www.facebook.com/GraceAnnaSings

DVD Review “Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops”

Director: Tom Forrest
Starring: Ron White, Lewis Black, Kathleen Madigan, Cic Henley, Tim Wilson, Alex Reymundo, Robert Hawkins, Rascal Flatts, John Oates and Margo Rey.
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment
Running Time: 76 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rating

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Ron White is usually good for a laugh or two. I am not a mega big fan of his work but I like a good joke. If you don’t know Ron “Tater Salad” White, he is best known as the cigar smoking, scotch drinking guy from the Blue Collar Comedy tour. I also figured this would be decent since it has the likes of Lewis Black and Rascal Flatts, both who I enjoy very much. But looking past the comedy and the music, this disc is really about saluting to the troops and benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation. It is great cause but the comedy falls short maybe since its made for TV and the music is not that exciting.

Everyone included on this disc only really gets a short 10-15 minutes to perform, so it is a little tight in time. The bits were not too funny overall, in fact I think that Ron White was the only one that had me laughing. The musical performances by Rascal Flatts, Margo Rey and John Oates were decent but didn’t feel electric and fired up. Overall it was a little bit disappointing. The bonus features on the disc contains extended bits from each of the comedian and that was this disc savior since it contains some good bits.

Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops DVD Announced

RON WHITE’S COMEDY SALUTE TO THE TROOPS

Featuring an All-Star Line-Up of Comedians, Top-Rated Tribute Debuts on DVD October 11 From Vivendi Entertainment and Fontana Distribution

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Paying tribute to America’s men and women in uniform, the hilarious extravaganza Ron White’s Comedy Salute To The Troops debuts on DVD October 11, 2011 from Vivendi Entertainment and Fontana Distribution. Hosted by Grammy-nominated comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White—best known as the cigar smoking, scotch drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy” tour—the hilariously funny movie features comedy performances by Alex Reymundo, Robert Hawkins, Vic Henley, Kathleen Madigan and Tim Wilson. This fourth annual Comedy Salute To The Troops aired on CMT in March and remains the network’s second highest rated show of the last year. Hosted at the Grand Ole Opry, Ron White’s Comedy Salute To The Troops benefitted the Armed Forces Foundation. The DVD also includes musical performances by Rascal Flatts, Margo Rey and John Oates and will be available for the suggested retail price of $14.93.