Photos: Lieutenant Dan Band Helps Local Hero Mark Litynski (Minneapolis, MN)

Lt Dan Band, Daniel Rodriguez, Frank Siller and Scott Lobaido
August 4th, 2013
Pantages Theater in Minneapolis, MN

Full Gallery:  Lt Dan Band Helps Local Hero Mark Litynski 

Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation
Gary Sinise Foundation

A large crowd was gathered outside of the Pantages Theater, and for good reason. the hero of the hour, Twin Cities native Cpl. (Ret.) United States Marine Corps Mark Litynski was there. He was just 23 when an IED blast ripped off both of his legs and most of his left arm, slashing into his remaining arm, shattering his pelvis and driving a rock and other debris up into his abdominal cavity. A local news station was interviewing him, and people were waiting for the chance to meet him, shake his hand, and thank him for his sacrifice and service. The concert was a benefit to raise money to build Mark and his wife Heather a Smart Home to help Mark live with more independence.

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Daniel Rodriguez came out and from tenor note one, he was fantastic. He began with a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and did a number of other songs from Broadway plays. For those of you that do not remember, Mr. Rodriguez is the NYPD Officer that was two blocks away from Ground Zero in New Your City on 9/11 when the towers fell. On October 23rd, 2001, he sang the national anthem at Yankee Stadium. New York recognized his talent before, but now the nation knew of his amazing voice and he could be seen performing on television on a regular basis. For me, it was very cool and very much a surprise to see and hear him perform.

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Frank Siller came out after and spoke about his brother Stephen who was killed on 9/11 when the towers fell. Stephen was on his way to go golfing with his brothers after finishing a late shift, and heard over the radio about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. He turned around and picked up his gear from Squad 1, and made it to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it was closed for security reasons. He then grabbed 65 pounds of gear out of the back of his truck and made the two-mile trek to the towers to help. He never made it out. His heroic journey that fateful day was the inspiration behind the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run and Walk, that traces Stephen’s steps from Battery Tunnel to Ground Zero. Other cities have begun to host their own races as well. Visit the link above, find out more about it, and find out how you can help or participate in one of these runs.

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Scott LoBaido, the “Creative Patriot” took the stage during Daniel’s last song, and in only a few minutes he created a wonderful piece of art by brush and by hand. Just when you thought he was done, he found the top of the World Trade Center Towers under his paint.

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The piece went up for auction a bit later in the show, and the winners of the auction donated it to Mark Litynski’s eventual Smart Home. You can find out more about these homes, see a tour of a completed home, and read more about future benefits and the heroes that they are for here. You can also look into Scott LoBaido’s “Flags Across America” campaign here.

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The lights of the Pantages Theater dimmed again and a montage of Gary Sinise’s movie roles started to play. The final movie clip to show was of course “Forest Gump”, where the Lieutenant Dan name and character came from. The night was quickly turned into a celebration.

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Gary and his band performed a number of high energy, feel good songs throughout the night. It was certainly a night to celebrate the love and support that way being shown. They also worked in a handful of emotional songs, most notably was Mariah Carrie’s “Hero”. The electric candles that we were handed when we arrived came out and lit the theater up.

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The band was great, the singers were tremendous, and artists tremendous, but the causes that brought everyone together on this night are what really matter.

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