By Meagan McGone
BREVARD -- According to the Brevard County-based nonprofit National Veterans Homeless Support, there are about 600 homeless veterans living in Brevard.
"To think that there's stuff like that going on in the United States - it's just so wrong, especially because these people shed blood for us," said Jack Smink, a Rockledge resident, who will set out to make a change on Saturday, Jan. 19.
Mr. Smink, a longtime Elvis tribute artist, will put on a benefit show, along with his 15-piece band, Lightning Strikes Twice, inside the Clarion Hotel on Merritt Island at 8 p.m.
"A Tribute to Elvis" will benefit the National Veterans Homeless Support.
"I'm not a veteran, but my dad fought in Normandy," Mr. Smink said. "I had an uncle who served in the military. Everybody is touched by this cause in one way or another. And I think there are a lot of ways to serve. I'm trying to serve now and help by showing my appreciation and hoping that we make a difference."
Mr. Smink has been performing tributes to Elvis since the legendary singer's death in 1977.
"When I would sing, people would request Elvis tunes, and I would get invited to parties," Mr. Smink said. "Then people asked me to do my first show when he died. I've had other jobs, but I have always done the Elvis thing on the side."
Mr. Smink said he currently only puts on his production-type shows with his 15-piece band for benefits and fundraisers.
"I try to pick out one or two causes per year," Mr. Smink said. "I love to give back. I love Brevard County."
Ret. U.S. Army Col. Danny McKnight, who was featured in the book and movie "Black Hawk Down," will be a special guest at the event. A Brevard County native, Col. McKnight and Mr. Smink have known each other since they were children.
"He's a great guy," Mr. Smink said. "His brother was the first friend I made when I moved to Brevard at age 8. We go back a long way. Danny is a genuine, bona fide war hero."
"A Tribute to Elvis" will be held at Club Nova, inside of the Clarion Hotel, which is located at 260 E. Merritt Island Causeway.
Tickets for the event are $38, and can be ordered by calling Lisa at (407) 342-2163.