Springfield veteran was roadie for a day for KISS: 'It was phenomenal'

 / Springfield News Leader

On most days, Kendall McDaniel can be found on the streets or in the woods, searching for homeless veterans. McDaniel is a case manager and peer support specialist for The Kitchen, Inc.'s Home at Last housing assistance program for homeless veterans.

Sometimes he is simply offering fresh socks, bottles of water or an understanding ear. Other times, usually after months of building trust and friendship, McDaniel is able to persuade the veteran to come to his office at The Kitchen, Inc., to be assessed for the Home at Last housing assistance program.

But last Saturday, McDaniel had a very different job assignment. He was chosen to be a roadie for the legendary rock group KISS when they played in Springfield.

"It was phenomenal. I've been to a lot of concerts. They are one of the best performing bands I've ever seen," McDaniel said. "When I was a kid, the KISS Destroyer album was the first record I ever had.

"This was the first time I've seen them," he added. "It was really cool."

KISS partnered with Hiring Our Heroes and the Veterans Tickets Foundation (Vet Tix) to honor the military by picking a local service member to be a "roadie for the day" in each city during the 2016 'KISS: Freedom to Rock' tour.

When Randy McCoy, housing director for The Kitchen, learned about the "roadie for the day" opportunity, he nominated McDaniel for the job.

McDaniel, an Army veteran who currently serves in the Missouri National Guard, was on a drill with the 35th Infantry Division at the time.

"I knew he was a huge KISS fan," McCoy said. "I thought it was a nice way of paying him back, saying thank you."

McDaniel said his day as a roadie began around 10 a.m. Members of KISS' road crew went out of their way to make sure McDaniel had a great day.

"They had this huge hospitality and catered area. It would have been really easy to say, 'We are really busy. We have a lot to do. Just sit here,'" McDaniel said. "They took me around, introduced me to everyone. I got to help set up and tear down for the acoustic set.

"It was a long day. It was after midnight when we got out of there and the roadies were still breaking down when we left," he recalled.

McDaniel said he occasionally bumped into band members throughout the day. Later, McDaniel attended a VIP event where he met the band again and got autographs. Then, once the band was in full makeup, McDaniel got to have his photo taken with them.

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