Turning soldiers’ stories into songs

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:30 PM EDT
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CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - Professional songwriters from Nashville are in the north country to take part in Operation Song, an organization that has served the military community for a decade.

After 3 combat tours and more than 20 years of service, most of which were served with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, retired Master Sergeant Del Rodriguez says it’s almost impossible to not have a story to tell.

“You’re killing it. You are at the top. You think everything is going great and you’re bulletproof then all of a sudden (you’re at the bottom) and for veterans we detach, and once we detach there’s no reattaching. You got to go through years and years of counseling,” he said. “I’ve lost a lot. I’ve lost everything and for me to not talk about that or give a clear view of what I’ve personally gone through.”

That’s what he hopes to do with Operation Song, a nationwide non-profit organization. It teamed up with North Country Troopers Assisting Troops to turn local soldiers’ and veterans’ stories into lyrics.

Working on a song are Sergeant First Class Greg Brazinsky, a Fort Drum soldier, and Nashville songwriter Jamie Floyd.

“I didn’t really know what to convey in the song, didn’t know which direction to go, just sitting here talking, going over everything, I think it’s going in more than one direction actually,” said Brazinsky.

He says his song is about his Army career and his wife, Brooke.

“She’s been a great help in my life compared to where I was when we first met and got together. I was very emotionless and very shut off from a lot of people other than my job. She brought me back,” said Brazinsky.

Floyd says there’s never a story that can’t be a song.

“Find a way to marry the most true emotion that’s coming from the person that’s sitting in front of me, and channel that into a song,” he said.

On Thursday, the songs will be performed at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel by Nashville’s songwriters. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and performances begin around 7 p.m.

All proceeds benefit Operation Song and North Country Troopers Assisting Troops.