Lake Oswego, September 14th, 2014. On a picture-perfect evening in Lake Oswego, at the private island estate of Rick and Erika Miller, members of legendary rock band KISS played an all-acoustic set. KISS band member Gene Simmons posed with the development director of Historical Outreach Foundation David Warden, band member Eric Singer, Alisha Hamel the executive director for the Historical Outreach Foundation, and band members Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer. Guests raised over $1.15 million dollars for the Brigadier General James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum. The museum is under construction at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Oregon. (photo credit, David A. Barss)

Gene Simmons and Dan Dutton, Chairman and CEO, Stimson Lumber

Gene Simmons and Dan Dutton, Chairman and CEO, Stimson Lumber 

Erika Miller, Lt. Col (ret) Tom Milligan, Rick Miller

Erika Miller, Lt. Col (ret) Tom Milligan, Rick Miller

Band members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer arrived at the intimate gathering following a national tour where they played to over 600,000 over 42 shows.  Sunday’s audience was just under 200.

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley

Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer

Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer 

Tommy Thayer, lead guitarist for KISS, has been involved with the Oregon Military Museum for several years, and is committed to honoring those who have served in the military.  With all four KISS members in attendance, the event was unique in its size, setting, and the goal-exceeding $1.15 million it raised for the cause. News anchor Steve Dunn of KATU emceed the program and introduced guest performers including The Patrick Lamb Trio, Julianne Johnson and Jean Pierre-Garau.

For Tommy, the museum named for his father holds a very personal connection.  He is quick to express his gratitude and respect for members of the military who have served, and the heroes who have risked their lives for others. “I’ve been blessed to live in this country and have the opportunity to do what I love and follow my passion for music,” said Thayer.  “None of it would be possible without people like my dad, and so many other veterans, who have bravely fought to protect our liberties and freedoms.”

Alisha Hamel, as the executive director for the Historical Outreach Foundation, is charged with supporting the fundraising efforts for the Oregon Military Museum, and other educational initiatives including the Oregon WWII Memorial and the Veterans’ Legacies Project.  She has been involved in each phase of the museum project, and is an integral part in the development of the educational aspects of the museum. An educator, historian, and veteran of Desert Storm, Hamel brings a valuable perspective on Oregon’s, and the country’s, rich military history. “The funds raised at this year’s All-Star Salute will jump start the process of creating truly interactive, hands-on exhibits at the museum,” said Hamel. “ We know that the best way to teach history is to engage people in the learning experience.”

The Oregon Military Museum, now under construction at Camp Withycombe, in Clackamas, is the largest initiative underway at the Historical Outreach Foundation, and Sunday’s All–Star Salute was the largest single fundraiser in the history of the museum; the proceeds put the museum over the halfway mark on a $14.6 million project.

“We are incredibly grateful to KISS and to the Millers for creating this once-in-a–lifetime event.” said Hamel.  “This was beyond anything we could have imagined, and is an evening we will not soon forget.”

To learn more about the Brigadier General James B Thayer Oregon Military Museum, or to support the programs at the Historical Outreach Foundation, visit www.historicaloutreach.com, or call (503) 705-5965.

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