Comedy tour benefits veterans
For comedian Christopher Cannon, standing up for wounded veterans has become his main act. After more than 20 years headlining comedy acts, Cannon brings his Comics for Courage tour to the West Fargo VFW on June 12 to raise money for the Wounded ...
For comedian Christopher Cannon, standing up for wounded veterans has become his main act.
After more than 20 years headlining comedy acts, Cannon brings his Comics for Courage tour to the West Fargo VFW on June 12 to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The organization, which serves as a bridge between wounded veterans as they assimilate back into civilian life, sparked Cannon's interest when he came across its website about five years ago.
Cannon, a 1980 graduate of Jamestown (N.D.) High School who served in the Army from 1983 to 1987, said he wanted to do something to raise awareness of wounded veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghan-istan.
"Being a veteran, you kind of a have a soft spot in your heart for veterans and wounded guys," he said.
Cannon started selling toy parachute soldiers after his comedy shows and about two years ago decided to devote his talents full time to the project.
The comedy tour provides a way for veterans and the public to have a laugh and help fund care-package backpacks that the Wounded Warriors Project provides. It's also an opportunity for younger veterans to get involved in organizations such as the VFW, he said.
Cannon, who now lives in Greeley, Colo., still feels a pull toward the Midwest. He held a show last month in Bismarck, and plans to visit Jamestown, Minot and Grand Forks this summer.
Cannon's ultimate goal is to hold 60 shows a year and attract some larger acts to the tour.
"I try to use as much local talent as possible to highlight the talent in the town itself," Cannon said.
One of those comedians, Andy Schoonhoven, is a 2004 West Fargo High School graduate and Bismarck firefighter who does stand-up in his free time.
Schoonhoven met Cannon during a comedy benefit in Fargo earlier this year and said he's excited to be a part the West Fargo show.
"Maybe it's because I'm a firefighter, but I just like helping people," he said.
Heidi Shaffer is a reporter at the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.