When someone is in need, when their world is a whirl of chaos, sometimes the best thing you can do is provide them with an escape. On Thursday morning, a couple Sedalia men did just that for an area law enforcement officer and his wife.
Doug Tillman was watching KCTV5’s news broadcast Wednesday night as the station shared the story of Chris Wright, a Clinton police officer who lost most of his belongings in a recent fire that also left his home severely damaged. Among those lost belongings were tickets to Thursday night’s concert by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. Wright was trying to get the tickets reissued so he and his wife could enjoy a night away from their worries, but because he bought them through a third-party vendor the Sprint Center could not help him out.
Tillman’s buddy John Kozak had purchased tickets for the concert when they went on sale months ago.
“John was talking about getting rid of the tickets and not going,” Tillman said. When he saw KCTV5’s report again Thursday morning before he went to work, Tillman checked with Kozak then called the TV station to offer their tickets to Wright, who also is an Air Force veteran.
“You look at the devastation they have had in their lives in the last week or so,” Tillman said. “They obviously needed it. They were really looking forward to a night to get away. It touched my heart and that is what made me reach out to John and then call Channel 5 to get them hooked up.”
Kozak agreed with Tillman that it was a “no-brainer” to donate their tickets to Wright.
“Being a member of Elks Lodge 125, we really support our veterans, people who are serving currently, police officers,” Kozak said. “Knowing what they have been through … they needed a night out more than I did.”
While Tillman has yet to see Springsteen in concert, Kozak caught the Boss at the height of his popularity.
“He put on a tremendous show back in the ’80s when I saw him on the ‘Born in the USA’ tour, played for four hours. It was an incredible show,” Kozak said. Since then, he and Tillman have taken in a few concerts with friends.
“We both have the same taste in music, you know, the classic rock ‘n’ roll,” Kozak said. “We’ve got friends up in the city and there always seems like there are five or six or seven of us going to the same show and sitting together. It’s a good way to catch up with people we grew up with who moved outside of Sedalia but also a chance to get out and see some bands that probably aren’t going to be touring much longer.”
Both were glad to see the Clinton community has stepped up to provide more necessary items, such as shelter, clothing and household items. But that does not lessen the value of their gift.
“What better way to give them a little bit of joy and pay it forward?” Tillman asked.
For Kozak, the donation gets to the heart of their upbringing.
“Sedalia is this kind of town, we take care of people,” he said. “We take care of each other and I think it is more of a reflection of our community, the state of Missouri, the attitude of Kansas City. It’s just a great place to live, great place to be, great place to call home.”
Kozak and Tillman are being praised for their actions, but like they said, helping someone in a bad spot was a no-brainer.
“It was never my intention for this kind of attention, but if it compels people to do something like this in the future, then why not?” Kozak said. “All you hear is bad news here and bad news there; maybe some good news will do some good.”
Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.