Local vet enjoys being KISS 'roadie for a day'
By Hillary Rosencrants / SiouxCityJournal.com
1st Lt. Trisha Theisen of the 185th Air Refueling Wing received a special opportunity Wednesday, thanks to her service in the Iowa Air National Guard.
With help from the Hiring Our Heroes program, Theisen was named 'Roadie for a Day' for the rock band KISS, which played Wednesday night at the Tyson Events Center.
Backstage, Theisen was invited to help with various tasks for the roadies, such as sound check, stuffing tote bags with merchandise for VIPs and equipment set up.
"Obviously they (the band) make a lot of money, and for them to give back and understand the importance the military has on our country is really humbling and just really cool," said Theisen. "So to be a part of this day -- itís a pretty big deal."
KISS' Roadie for a Day program started at the beginning of its Freedom to Rock Tour 2016.
Among other perks for Theisen and her husband, Master Sgt. Jason Theisen, who accompanied her, were VIP access to backstage, a private pre-show acoustic set performed by the band members sans makeup, and exclusive Hiring Our Heroes/KISS T-shirts.
Theisen was selected for the roadie gig through a process of Hiring Our Heroes, a program which works with local military communities across the country to designate the roadies in each U.S. city on the Freedom to Rock Tour 2016. The program is a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation that helps former and present service members and their families find civilian employment.
"Itís fun having them; most of them are really excited," Robert John Wood, a KISS roadie, said of the roadies for the day. "Itís so new to them to be by rock stars and stuff. For most of them, this is a vacation. This isnít work, this isnít really a job."
Theisen has been in the military since 2001, when a cousin recommended she join to help pay for college. Instead, she fell in love with the fast-paced job and made it her career. She said her favorite part is the travel.
"The 185th is constantly deploying all over the globe," said Theisen. She currently performs a variety of duties around the 185th, serving as Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Public Affairs Officer, and helps the wing commander pen speeches.
Theisen has particularly enjoyed visiting Washington, D.C. with her husband as part of her service with the 185th.
"I'm from a small town; I never wouldíve thought I wouldíve had the opportunity or money to do that," said Theisen.
Theisen and her husband, Jason, also in the 185th, have two children, a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old.
"It's been a long time since I've been to a concert," said Theisen. "My husband and I -- we're so busy, we never really get the opportunity or take the time to go be together. So today is really cool for Jay and I."