Local musician supports military and veterans events

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Cory Wilkins has a guitar, and he will travel. The El Cajon-based singer-songwriter makes a point of supporting events staged on behalf of active-duty and military veterans all around San Diego County.

Cory Wilkins has a guitar, and he will travel. The El Cajon-based singer-songwriter makes a point of supporting events staged on behalf of active-duty and military veterans all around San Diego County.

Wilkins brought his own brand of “outlaw riff country” music to an appearance at Fallbrook’s Charles E. Swisher Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1924 on Saturday, January 9. The event was a welcome party for Fallbrook American Legion Post 776, which was recently unanimously approved as a tenant organization meeting at the VFW facility, located at 1175 Old Stage Road.

Wilkins entertained those gathered with a three-hour performance, covering classic country music songs by Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, Jr. Wilkins also performed a few original country rock songs he has written. And sprinkled throughout the afternoon’s entertainment, the blind singer-guitarist charmed his audience with a mix of good humor and tender emotion.

Wilkins played his first club date as a musician when he was 14. That was 19 years ago.

“I always wanted to be a musician. In fact, there are two things I always wanted to do — being a musician and being an astronaut. NASA hasn’t called me for the space station yet, but I am doing what I love to do playing music.”

His camaraderie with the veterans became more apparent as the afternoon turned to evening, and Wilkins began drinking shots with members of the crowd, including the VFW Post Commander, Kenny Etherton.

“It’s always an honor to play music for veterans,” Wilkins said. “I come from a background with lots of veterans in my family, and they are all back east. Due to my circumstances, I couldn’t serve in the military, so I really enjoy being able to do something for those who have served. I am real appreciative of the opportunity to play for them and hang out spending time with them.”

During a break in the music, Etherton and Fallbrook American Legion Post 776 Commander Lora Wood praised the new mutual support as fellow veterans service organizations. Post 776 is known as the “youngest” American Legion Post in San Diego County, and Etherton acknowledged the already-beneficial assistance from bringing in younger veterans for participation in activities and community service events. “We are working as one team,” Etherton said.

Legion Post Commander Wood agreed, “We are already seeing benefits on both sides. We intend to become even more established in the community as Legionnaires, and we are looking forward to providing more and better service to veterans, their families and the community too. That is the Legion’s main mission.”

Wilkins has performed at events sponsored by Support the Enlisted Project, and he urged his listeners to remember STEP as a worthy charitable cause. One of his upcoming appearances will be Lestat’s West Music Venue in San Diego during February. On March 5, Wilkins will entertain at Lakeside’s Carter-Smith VFW Post 5867. More information on Wilkins and his music, as well as free music downloads, can be found at corywilkinsmusic.com.

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