Benefit Concert to Honor Fallen Vt. Marine

Country singer Jamie Lee Thurston, a Vermont native, will headline a benefit show.

A country music artist from Vermont is lending his voice to a good cause, performing at a benefit concert that honors a fallen U.S. Marine from Vermont.

Jamie Lee Thurston grew up in Waterbury, but now lives and works in Nashville.

The singer, songwriter and producer has collaborated with top names in country music, like Montgomery Gentry and Trace Adkins.

This weekend, Thurston is back in his home state headlining a military appreciation event named for Vermonter Jesse Strong.

Strong was killed in Iraq in 2005 along with three other Marines when a rocket-propelled grenade struck their Humvee.

The concert Saturday night will raise money for a college scholarship fund in Strong's name to support students from Vermont's rural Northeast Kingdom. Some of the money will also support veterans causes, including an effort to prevent veteran suicides, said Vicki Strong, Sgt. Strong's mother.

"People are getting together to support the foundation and to have a great time at the same time, and to celebrate what was; celebrate Jesse's life," Jamie Lee Thurston said. "Instead of a mourning, you celebrate — you do what you can. You pull together as a people, as a community. Vermonters — they're a lot like that."

The benefit concert is Saturday night at the Creek Hill Barn venue in Irasburg. Ticket information is available here.

Sgt. Strong's mother, who is also a Republican lawmaker serving in the Vermont House of Representatives, said she and her family are deeply honored by all the community support.

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