A country singer in the Top of Utah is using the proceeds from one of his music videos to donate to police and military veterans, an effort he says is in response to an excess of negative attention surrounding men and women in uniform.
Chris Petersen is donating 100 percent of his online sales of the music video, "Every Time I Hear The Rain," to Sportsmen For Warriors, a Layton non-profit that provides hunting and fishing trips and other outdoor adventures to veterans experiencing major life difficulties.
Petersen, from Morgan, told the Standard-Examiner he has been paying attention to several controversial officer-involved shootings throughout the country and statewide which have put the role of police under intense scrutiny and led to numerous protests in 2014.
"There's a lot of negative press toward law enforcement. I just — didn't like it. I thought somebody needs to do something, somebody needs to step up and show these people that put their life on the line that we do support them," Petersen said.
"Every Time I Hear The Rain," one of 12 songs Petersen released with his first album on iTunes and Google Play, was written about the strength of military couples and focuses on the capacity of love to overcome the obstacles of distance and time. Petersen is using the sale for donations, he says, because it was the way he could best make a difference individually for police and military members.
"I just wanted to help and I thought, I'm just one person. ... I started looking at organizations that make a difference on a larger scale," he said.
Petersen settled on Sportsmen For Warriors because its services are extended to all veterans who have experienced a life crisis or suffer from mental illness, and not only those who have been wounded.
""They find these people who are in the dark times of their lives. (Veterans) may struggle (with) ... depression or PTSD. They just need a little help sometimes," Petersen said. "They're out there 'cause they want to make a difference in the world, 'cause they want to help people. Every day they leave home not knowing if they'll come back. ... That, to me, is very commendable."
Petersen first wrote the music to the song two years ago, but it took him several months to find the right inspiration for the lyrics.
"I tried, tried and tried to finish the song — I could not do it," Petersen said. "I really liked the feeling of it but I didn't really like the words."
Petersen finally found his inspiration for the lyrics while sitting at home, listening to the rain and missing his cousin, who was serving a military tour away from his wife; she was also serving overseas, but was deployed in another country.
"I just started thinking about all the feelings and emotions they must be going through," he said. "I thought, you know, that's got to be so tough."
The words came pouring out and Petersen finished the lyrics in one sitting, he said. He later produced the accompanying music video himself and released it this week. The timing of the release is fitting as a comfort and a tip of the hat, Petersen said, to veterans and their loved ones who may recently feel scorned or unappreciated.
"The need to know there are people care, who want to help them, who want to support them."
The man and woman featured in the video are a real life military couple from Spanish Fork.
"I wanted it to be authentic," Petersen said.
Those who wish to in purchase Petersen's music video for $2 can search "Every Time I Hear The Rain" on iTunes or Google Play. His full album is also available for purchase at those online stores or at www.diehardcowboy.com/CDs_c_8.html.
Donations to Sportsmen for Warriors may be made at www.sportsmenforwarriors.org.