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Newly formed Operation R&R presented its first annual benefit concert, Songs & Salutes, on Friday, September 9 at The Citadel’s Holliday Alumni Center. Guests turned up early for an intimate performance with Joal Rush before Southern songwriter Patrick Davis took the stage.

Jalapeño poppers, miniature meatballs, and shrimp and grits did their best to tempt guests from the silent auction, but partygoers equally divided time between bidding on local art and spa packages and munching on treats. Partygoers milled about or snagged a drink at the open bar, but nearly everyone grabbed a seat as the lights dimmed and Patrick Davis & Friends took the stage.

Davis delivered a wonderful performance that was the highlight of a relaxed, intimate evening benefiting soldiers and their families. Founded in May of this year, Operation R&R Charleston is the local branch of non-profit organization Operation R&R, which was founded in Hilton Head Island, SC in 2008 by Dr. Grant Evans. The organization aims to provide active duty service men and women who have recently been deployed the opportunity to reconnect and strengthen family relationships by vacationing in the Charleston area at little to no cost.