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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Before veterans march through the streets of Pittsburgh this weekend, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra held a tribute Friday night to all those who have bravely served.
The concert was called “Salute to Veterans.”
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall began its concert to area veterans with stirring renditions of patriotic favorites.
It means so much to Eric Howze and his wife, Christina, who are both veterans.
“To share that camaraderie, and a lot of times we don’t get to come out to events like the symphony, so for them to open up their doors to us is a tremendous thing. We thank them for that,” said Howze, of No Hero Left Behind Pittsburgh.
There was a time when Howze was sleeping outside of buildings rather than attending events inside that celebrated his service as a combat veteran in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He would have been arrested after a long bout of homelessness if it weren’t for a compassionate police officer.
“Once they found out I was a veteran, then they took me to the Veterans Recovery Center, and the VA Hospital is a tremendous help,” said Howze.
That’s why Howze founded No Hero Left Behind Pittsburgh, a charity organization advocating for homeless and underserved veterans.
He goes to shelters and hands out supplies and resources.
“There is hope that they are not the only ones that may have been through this situation, and sometimes it can only take a conversation to save a life,” Howze said.
Events like the one held by the symphony and the city’s Veterans Day Parade go beyond a celebration. Howze says it reaches into the hearts of those who need it most, the veterans who area still struggling.
“A symbol of gratitude for other veterans, to show them that they’re not forgotten,” he said.
To learn more about the No Hero Left Behind Pittsburgh organization, visit their Facebook here, or call 724-316-4755.