Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Musicians and comics join forces for veterans

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NEW YORK -- Bruce Springsteen auctioned off the guitar around his shoulder for $250,000 to benefit wounded servicemen and women, the climax of Wednesday's seventh annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit run by ABC newsman Bob Woodruff's foundation.

A murderer's row of comics -- Jon Stewart, Bill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan and Jerry Seinfeld -- preceded former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who played with a band featuring wounded vets, and local hero Springsteen. The show at the Madison Square Garden Theater was streamed online through Google Plus and YouTube.

Woodruff, the newsman nearly killed eight years ago by an improvised explosive device in Iraq, and his wife, Lee, spend much of their time now helping vets who need care for catastrophic injuries. This year's benefit, from which the Woodruffs hoped to raise $20 million, had a special emphasis on family caregivers who nurse veterans back to health.

Rachel and Larkin O'Hern, from Belton, Texas, brought the audience to its feet by telling their love story and Larkin's arduous road to recovery after losing both legs and his right hand.

The process, Larkin O'Hern said, is "the triumph of slim hope over crushing despair."

Waters, whose father was killed in the Second World War and his grandfather in the First World War, brought nearly two dozen veterans onstage with him to sing and play guitar, some of them missing limbs.

Springsteen performed a set synched to the evening's theme. With an acoustic guitar, he sang Dancing in the Dark and was joined by his wife, Patti Scialfa, for a duet on If I Should Fall Behind.

Accompanying himself on a pump organ with a synthesizer backup, Springsteen also played an arresting cover of a 1979 Suicide song, Dream Baby Dream.

Joined by NBC's Brian Williams, he helped auction the guitar, juicing the price with sweeteners that included his own free one-hour guitar lesson and entry to a recording session at his New Jersey home.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 8, 2013 D6

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