Artist Pics: Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker (12/21/2012)

Kellie Pickler sits in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected simulator during a visit for the USO.

Kellie Pickler returned from her sixth USO tour on Dec. 19. The country entertainer performed for U.S. troops as part of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey’s annual USO holiday tour.

The seven-day, four-country tour of the Middle East also included performances by artists Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen of the Washington Nationals, Matt Hendricks of the Washington Capitals and comedian Lliza Shlesinger.

Stops included Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan; U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart in Germany and a visit with sailors stationed aboard aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, among other locations.

“[During] the holidays, everyone wants to be home with their families and loved ones. And I know it’s just as hard for [your] families back home, so they’re making a sacrifice as well,” Pickler said via a release. “I just want to say thanks so much for all that you do, and thank you to your families as they make a huge sacrifice. This time of year is really hard so I hope that you know that we love you. The USO, all of us, we are praying for a safe return home for you all. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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Photo (L- R): Lance Corporal Morales; Sergeant Cory Tribble and Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker visited Toys “R” Us in Carle Place, N.Y. on Dec. 17 to donate over $10,000 worth of toys to benefit the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots program. The toys will be distributed to children in the Lindenhurst, N.Y. area, which was recently affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Rucker partnered with digital media company Eventful, and over 30,000 music fans in 3,028 cities “Demanded” that Rucker bring his $10,000 worth of donated toys to their city. Fans used Eventful’s social media platform “Demand It!” to spread the word virally on Facebook and Twitter and invited friends to help their city win.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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