The Band Perry members, Neil, Kimberly and Reid are interviewed by WLOX reporter Elizabeth Vowell following a meet-and-greet held at Keesler Air Force Base's Bay Breeze Event Center April 21, 2012. The group discussed why it was important to them to come out to Keesler and their connection to the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Rae Moore)
Maj. John Ponton, 81st Force Support Squadron commander, poses for a photo after presenting The Band Perry’s members, Neil, Kimberly and Reid, with a coin to thank them for coming out to the Bay Breeze Event Center at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. for a meet-and-greet April 21, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Kimberly Rae Moore)
by Staff Sgt. Kimberly Rae Moore
81st Training Wing Public Affairs
4/25/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Band Perry members, Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry, came out to Keesler's Bay Breeze Event Center, April 21; to take photos with and sign autographs for Keesler members.
The group is the Academy of Country Music Awards' 2011 Top New Vocal Group and holds Country Music Association Awards 2011 Single of the Year with their quadruple platinum hit, "If I Die Young."
When asked why the group wanted to come to Keesler, Kimberly explained, "I don't know if a lot of folks on the Gulf Coast know this but the three of us grew up in Mobile, Ala. and that's where music started for us."
"We have always been so close to Keesler and have had friends who have been on the base. We had this afternoon off so it was really important to us to come out and say hello to some of the good folks here."
Kimberly's brother and band mate Reid emphasized that they wanted to thank all of Keesler's members.
"It's important to us, not only to thank the service members but also the families who are left behind while their loved ones are deployed," he said.
Being raised only an hour away from Keesler, Neil, the third band member and sibling, said they feel a close tie with the base and the military.
"One of Kimberly's first guitar players was in the military; we grew up surrounded by military members," he said. "So we definitely feel an appreciation for them."
Kimberly explained that not only did they relate to the military by association but also on a lifestyle level.
"Being a service member isn't a 9-to-5 job," she said. "It really is a lifestyle and we understand a lifestyle career choice and it was amazing to get to say thank you in person.
Maj. John Ponton, 81st Force Support Squadron commander, thanked the band for coming out to Keesler and presented each of them with a coin, a military tradition symbolizing gratitude.
The group said that once they left the base, they planned to go see their grandmother who lives in Gulfport. Then they were playing a concert that evening in Biloxi.
"It's so great to be home," Kimberly said. "We've played in Biloxi before, so it's like a homecoming and we're excited to be here."