Marine Corps vet, grandmother, chosen as 'roadie' for KISS concert

By Meagan Beck  / http://www.mlive.com

 As a Marine Corps veteran who has traveled overseas, Kimberly Stewart has taken in a lot of cool sights.

But this weekend, the Essexville grandmother will be in new territory: Taking in a KISS concert - as a "roadie."

KISS will perform at the Van Andel Arena on Saturday, Aug. 13 as part of the band's "Freedom to Rock" tour.

The legendary band featuring Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley has partnered with Hiring Our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce foundation, and Vet Tix, an organization that provides event tickets to veterans.

Stewart was selected by Hiring Our Heroes to be a KISS "roadie for the day," and while she isn't exactly sure what that entails, she's excited for it.

"I still don't know everything about it. It will be a surprise," she said. "I feel really fortunate. This is an amazing opportunity."

Growing up in a military family, it came as no surprise when Stewart chose the service. She was in the Marine Corps for five years during the time of the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm.

She met her husband while in the military and is a mother of two daughters. She also has three granddaughters.

"Our memories are amazing," she said. "When we look back we're like, 'Did we really do that?' But we did."

And now she gets to make another memory. To become a roadie for the Grand Rapids KISS show, Stewart applied for the spot after getting an email about the opportunity. She loves KISS, so she decided to give it a shot.

"I'm happy to be a part of it and excited," Stewart said. "I love it when I like a band and they're involved in helping veterans."

In addition to giving Stewart and other fans the roadie opportunity, KISS will offer a tribute to the military during the show.

"Many of these heroes have given a lot, and some have given all, and we will honor them in every town we tour," KISS member Gene Simmons said in a news release.

Eligible Grand Rapids area veterans and service members can still apply for free tickets to the show by signing up for an account.

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