Saturday, May 09, 2009

Buy a song, help the NC USO

It was around Valentine's Day several years ago when Chief Warrant Officer Mike Leoni's military unit suffered its first casualty.

Unsure of how else to cope with the loss, Leoni turned to the only thing he knew would express his feelings: music. Picking up his beat-up guitar, he began composing a song for his wife back home in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Leoni, a 1990 graduate of Mesa's Westwood High School, said he'd never written a love song before, and it was the first acoustic song he had composed. He sent it to her via satellite e-mail as a Valentine's Day gift, singing "You are not alone, I'm fighting my way home ... don't waste your tears, I feel you with me."

Leoni and his band, Romeo Falls, have recorded the song, "Wasted Tears." In partnership with the United Service Organizations, the song is available for purchase online, with proceeds going to the North Carolina chapter of the USO.


The song, which Leoni said is meant to honor the "unbreakable bond between our soldiers and their loved ones on the home front," was an inspiration, and Romeo Falls decided to record it. On a whim, Leoni contacted the North Carolina United Service Organizations to see if the song could be used as a form of fundraising.

Because the organization is a self-sustaining chapter and gets no direct money from USO in Arlington, Va., Leoni wanted to make the song available online. Each time the song is purchased from iTunes or Rhapsody, Romeo Falls will make a donation to the organization.

"His generosity floored me," said John Falkenbury, president of the USO in North Carolina. "We need all the help we can get because we do so many programs: Traditional outreach programs, support for families left behind or that may be struggling. We do much more than just entertainment."
You can listen to the song on Romeo Falls' MySpace Page and purchase it at iTunes or Rhapsody.

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