Bret Michaels, DFW Fans Raise Money For Wounded Marine's Home - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Bret Michaels, DFW Fans Raise Money For Wounded Marine's Home



    Thousands of North Texans attended a concert in McKinney by rock star Bret Michaels. The concert will help build a new home for USMC Cpl. Brian Aft, who was wounded in Afghanistan. (Published Sunday, May 25, 2014)

    Muddy conditions from the rain Sunday didn't stop a crowd of thousands from showing up to see a big name in rock and help an American hero at the same time.

    Poison singer Bret Michaels headlined the Smiles Charity annual Memorial Day concert Sunday night; a free event the raises donations to build homes for injured veterans.
    This year's concert was all about a North Texas Marine and his dog who both lost a lot during their last tour in Afghanistan.
    Cpl. Brian Aft and his Marine bomb dog Buckshot were both caught in an IED blast in April of 2011. The explosion destroyed both of Aft's legs forcing doctors to amputate and confining Aft to a wheel chair.
    Buckshot, who was actually on his fourth tour of duty, was given to Cpl. Aft after the blast as he suffered severe dog post traumatic stress disorder. Cpl. Aft said even during the small wave of storms Sunday the dog was huddling in fear at the sound of thunder. Currently the duo is living in a small apartment in Dallas.
    The founder of Smiles Charity, Dr. Jennifer Buchanan of McKinney said Cpl. Aft was the perfect recipient for the annual event.
    Since 2008 the foundation has put on the annual Memorial Day concert in the flood plain behind
    Dr. Buchanan's office to raise money and build homes for wounded service-men and women in the DFW area. Aft's home will be the latest build starting later this year.
    The group was very pleased to bring on Michaels for this year's event; they say their biggest headliner to date.
    Before the show Sunday night Michaels met with Cpl. Aft one-on-one to meet "the real hero" and hear his story personally.
    Michaels told Aft how he came from a long-line of military service men and women in his family; dating back to the Battle of the Bulge and even earlier. Michaels has used his foundation, Life Rocks, to reach out to war heroes in the past and said playing a show for this cause was a no-brainer.
    During the show the rocker recognized Cpl. Aft several times even bringing him to the stage during the performance of Poison power-ballad "Something to Believe In."
    There's no word yet on how much money the foundation raised for Cpl. Aft's new home Sunday but organizers were confident that they would have very large numbers.
    Aft said he was speechless by all of the support for him and Buckshot. He looked forward to playing ball with the dog in their new backyard someday.
    Aft urged people this Memorial Day to remember all of the veterans out there who aren't finding recovery as well as he was.
    "I'm ok," he said, "but a lot of guys aren't able to say that."