Friday, January 26, 2007

Northern NY Businessman Treats Fort Drum Soldiers

At a cost of over $15,000, Watertown businessman P.J. Simao bought 125 tickets to tonight's Toby Keith concert at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY, on the Oneida Indian Nation. These tickets were then donated to soldiers and their familes at Fort Drum. And he didn't gofor the cheap seats either. These tickets were the most expensive ones available for the show.

From the Post Standard:

"When you do something like this, you might as well do it the right way," Simao told The Post-Standard of Syracuse, saying he was reluctant to discuss his donation and insisted he did not want publicity.Sam Madonia, Turning Stone's entertainment director, said Simao called personally, insisted on excellent seats and never asked for a discount.

Simao bought 100 tickets soon after they went on sale in October and gave them to the Army to distribute at Fort Drum. then Simao learned they were in high demand, he bought another 25. "After doing what they do for us, it is a small token of our appreciation," Simao said.

Fort Drum is home to the US Army's Tenth Mountain Division. Many of the soldiers attending the sold-out concert tonight are recently home from Iraq. A half dozen soldiers were invited to met Toby Keith backstage.

When Oneida nation leader Ray Halbritter learned of Simao's generosity, he decided to provide a dinner for the group, Madonia said. Tonight, they will dine on crab-stuffed sole, honey-pecan chicken and strawberry shortcake - far removed
from Army-issued meals.

P.J. Simao is co-owner of DealMaker Auto Group in Watertown. If you live in the North Country, you might want to stop in and give P.J. a big NY thank you.

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