Gr8ter Veterans: We’re Back!

An Inspirational Return: Veteran Nick Richardson hosts “We’re Back” music event in Colville on June 22, celebrating veterans

By Loren Grube, Publisher

Colville, WA – Gr8ter Veterans is a non-profit established in 2015 by veteran Nick Richardson to provide support for veterans, military, and first responders in the local area. Richardson served in the military in field
artillery from 1999-2003, with a tour in Kosovo. He returned to the states in 2006 due to an injury and a new baby on the way. 

 

“I found early on that having music at our events was a great way to bring veterans and the community together,” said Richardson. He is planning his next big event for Gr8ter Veterans on June 22 in Colville. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite.

 

Richardson said he grew up on the “wrong side of the tracks.” Born and raised in Spokane, he joined the military to earn money for school and wanted to go to Europe to see where his family originated from.


After his Kosovo tour, he worked at AAFES for eight months in Germany where he previously met his wife, Anita, in 2001. He also worked at Securitas GMBH for another two years before moving back to the states.

 

Returning home came with the many unique challenges veterans face readjusting to civilian life, and for Richardson that included depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

 

Richardson enrolled at University of Phoenix and completed six years in a row, earning a Masters in Administration of Justice in 2012. After that, he bounced around for a while, living with family and took a job as a corrections officer in Missouri. Then he moved back to Spokane to take a job with Homeland Security (TSA),  but  it would be 18 months before he could be hired full-time. After experiencing various let-downs and struggling with depression, he decided to put all of his energy into helping fellow veterans. Richardson worked with the FarmJam Festival in Colville for a couple years to get bookings with artists including Scooter Brown Band, Raelynn Nelson and Jeremy McComb.

 

When he returned to civilian life, Richardson said he didn’t immediately register with the VA, thinking he “had all his limbs, and others were worse off.” Soon he was dealing with depression and post traumatic issues that resulted in difficulties at work. Richardson said, “I’m an outspoken veteran, blue collar American patriot, who loves his country.” He didn’t deal well with corporate politics and “tactics used by dishonest coworkers trying to get ahead.” After several jobs and the loss of his first home, Richardson experienced homelessness for a short time and ended up filing bankruptcy.  

 

Richardson’s aunt in Texas loaned Richardson $500 to get the trademark for his new non-profit serving veterans. His first fundraiser was a spaghetti feed at the VFW Post in Spokane which raised $300. Things progressed from there as he began working 40 hours for the non-profit while working 40 hours at TSA. He started running events, but then COVID hit and everything shut down. He ended up leaving his job at TSA due to various things he could not deal with, including how he was treated by TSA when he decided not to take the COVID vaccine. 

 

Richardson described how many people targeted him and misjudged what he was doing. But whenever things got bad, and he wanted to give up, something would happen or someone would call at just the right time to encourage him to keep going. Now, he just focuses on helping veterans and “doesn’t keep track.” He has a house again and lives in Deer Park with his family, and is working hard to live out his dream. He envisions providing a one-stop-shop with events, guest speakers, a service dog area, and free internet service – a place for veterans to build community and become whole. Mentor Chuck Elmore, retired head of Spokane Health Services, was one who encouraged Richardson to start Gr8ter Veterans. 

 

Richardson began organizing event after event on a skeleton budget, paying for much of it out of his own pocket. It was a lot more work than he thought it would be, and sponsors and board members came and went. Richardson was going around trying to help everyone and learned a lot of lessons over the first 9 years, he said. 

 

Over time, he decided to stay more closely aligned with his values and became more selective with the people he worked with. This slowed the growth of his organization, but he was determined to keep it a God-driven mission. He would constantly respond to veterans’ calls and then reach a limit where he felt like hanging up his hat.

 

In December of 2022, Richardson experienced a setback due to a car wreck that put him in rehabilitation for a year. His next event, coming up on June 22 at the Colville AG Trade Center, is the first big event he has organized since before his accident, and he finally feels “healed up enough to pull it off.”

 

Richardson said he wants to reach out to vets on “Vet Island,” building a bridge for veterans to reintegrate in a “non-in-your-face approach,” like a concert. “Then, all of a sudden,” he said. “It helps vets come home quicker.” Richardson mentioned that the music he selects can also help with TBI (traumatic brain injury), as there will be no rap music, just country or soft rock, all about patriotism and community. 

 

“We’re Back” Event on June 22!

 

The June 22 event will take place at the Colville AG Trade Center from 6-11:30 p.m. and is appropriately entitled, “We’re Back.” Richardson has lined up top notch artists Randy Wood, Clayton Q, and his legendary guitar player Randy Russell to entertain veterans and their families and anyone else who wants to come.

 

About the artists

 

Randy Wood has a deep voice similar to Josh Turner. Hailing from Tennessee, Wood is not only remarkably talented but is also a steadfast patriot.  

 

Clayton Q has a southern rock country sound and has performed all across the U.S. with Kid Rock, John Rich, Walker Hayes, Gretchen Wilson, Def Leppard, Billy Idol and others. He brings a lot of talent and Patriotism to the stage. His guitarist Randy Russell has played with Johnny Cash, Brooks and Dunn, Greg Allman and others. 

 

Opening the show will be 14-year-old Wyatt, son of Deer Park resident Jessica Miller, as a way to pay-it-back to the community where Richardson got his start with music events.

 

How to purchase tickets

 

To purchase your tickets, visit the events tab at gr8terveteran.com or go directly to EventBrite and type in “Gr8ter Veterans.”

 

Every aspect of the event embodies patriotism, right down to the pricing! Richardson has made it affordable to ensure families can attend. Single tickets are priced at $17.76, couples at $19.13, and family tickets (inclusive of a couple and two children under 12) are $25. For those unable to attend, there’s an option to donate a ticket to a veteran for $20. Richardson promises a big show at a lower cost, with VIP tickets priced at $45, which include early admission, photo opportunities with the artists, and priority merchandise selection.

 

50/50 Raffle

 

In addition to the main event, there will be a 50/50 raffle, with tickets available for $10 each, where the winner takes home half the pot. Exclusive limited small-batch merchandise, all designed by Richardson himself, will be on sale. Plus, expect a special surprise at the show’s conclusion.

 

In addition to running music events for veterans, Richardson has written a book called “Unaffiliated” which is currently being edited, and he runs a podcast soon to be under the same name. Nick Richardson can be reached at 509-953-3515.