By Patrick B. McGuigan
Oklahoma’s Country Music Superstar Toby Keith is deepening his commitment to the needs of American soldiers and veterans, building on his long-standing affirmations of their service.
Keith is co-founding and launching “Pros 4 Vets” and has already rounded up National Football League players Mark Clayton of the St. Louis Rams, Tommie Harris of the Chicago Bears, and Roy Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals (previously with the Dallas Cowboys).
“This is a subject very near to my heart,” said Toby Keith, one of the Sooner State’s best-known country music products. “Our soldiers leave their families to fight for us, and we want to fight for them. Long after the ‘Welcome Home’ parade, many soldiers face medical and legal challenges.
“It’s our duty as Americans to take care of our men and women in uniform when they come home. We invite professionals from all fields to step up to this challenge and help American soldiers and veterans.”
According to Keith, the mission of Pros 4 Vets is to raise awareness of the needs faced by American service members, veterans and their families and to help them meet those needs. The non-profit group will bring together the talents and skills of lawyers, doctors and other professionals to provide free professional services, such as legal assistance or medical care. For more information, go to www.pros4vets.org.
Over the years, Toby Keith has frequently visited American soldiers at forward operating bases in international war zones and entertained troops at military bases. “American Soldier” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” are two songs written and performed by Toby Keith popular among military members, and with the general public. Keith provided a stirring one-man version of “American Soldier” at this year’s inauguration ceremonies at the Oklahoma state Capitol.
Joining Toby Keith as Co-founders of Pros 4 Vets are NFL champs Clayton, Harris and Williams.
Clayton was a revered first-round draft pick in the NFL and is lending his help to ensure that America’s courageous veterans receive the help they deserve.
Harris is a three-time Pro Bowler in the NFL and also the recipient of the “Ed Block Courage Award” which is only given out to one player per team who shows sportsmanship, commitment and courage, while serving as an inspiration to the rest of the team.
Five-time Pro Bowler Williams, fresh off his “2010 Man of the Year” Award from the Bengals, has sent out an invitation to professionals from all industries to join the new effort intended to assist soldiers and veterans.
From his first single and No. 1 smash “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” to his latest album and Billboard Top 200 chart-topper Bullets In The Gun, Toby Keith has been one of the most consistent self-directed hit makers of his era.
Keith is now in his 18th consecutive year having had a #1 single every year since his first release. And the title track from “Bullets” is currently moving up the charts. In the history of recorded music, artists exhibiting consistency and longevity are in an exclusive club. Toby Keith, however, may be in a class by himself.
At the core of Toby Keith’s unparalleled success is his songwriting, which has powered an astounding succession of hit songs. The hits keep coming from his heart and from observations about life, lending his lyrics authenticity.
Keith has been the principle creative force behind songs that have competed and won at the highest levels of commercial music for nearly two decades – to the tune of 70 million-and-counting airings on commercial radio stations nationwide.
He has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International with its Songwriter/Artist of the Decade distinction, and is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year. On its own, Toby Keith’s songwriting is a career beyond imagination for most of us, but it is also the foundation of a much larger entertainment presence.
His albums have sold more than 33 million copies, ranking him among the top-selling all-genre artists on Billboard’s Top 200 Artists of the Decade. Toby Keith is also Billboard’s No. 1 Artist of the Decade and No. 1 Country Songwriter of the Decade. His tours, long sponsored by Ford Trucks, have drawn more than one million fans each year for the last decade. And his roster of I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants continues to grow.
These, among other endeavors, have earned Toby Keith annual recognition from Forbes as one of the very top-earning entertainer/musicians in the world.
But Keith’s most rewarding experiences, as exhibited in his continual devotion to them, come from giving back. Whether it’s helping sick children and their families in his native Oklahoma through the Toby Keith Foundation or visiting American soldiers in international war zones.
Keith has never lost touch with the most important things in life. Surely, that perspective and work ethic contribute to his ongoing success as a singer, songwriter and entertain