NewsMission Service


Dozens of veteran organizations, thousands of people expected at first Herostock

A first-of-its-kind event in the metro area for veterans, gold star families, and first responders to take place Saturday
Posted at 1:41 PM, Sep 05, 2023

ASHLAND, Neb. (KMTV) — What started as a get-together in Lincoln for veterans and their families has now become something much bigger.

Eleven months ago, veteran Jason Steiner organized an event called Vetstock. Around 100 veterans and their families met for a night of camaraderie, live music and fun.

“As we were planning it, we saw this need to highlight these veteran nonprofits,” he said.

A dozen nonprofits came out that night, including Wheels 4 Warriors USA.

“We provide them with a 100% free motorcycle, we pay the tax/title/licensing, insurance for a year, gas for a year, we buy all their riding equipment, service plan for a year,” Wheels 4 Warriors USA Vice President Jesse Cunningham shared. “So, anything that goes wrong with their motorcycle is taken care of Just so they can throw a leg over the motorcycle and ride."

The feedback Steiner received from attendees on the nonprofits there was incredible and has snowballed into the creation of Herostock; expanding to include first responders and gold-star families as well.

“If you came to me a year ago and said that you’re going to have 47 vendors, possibly 2,000-5,000 people, being on the news for it, being on podcasts for it, I would’ve laughed you out of the building,” Steiner told us. “It was literally a one-night one-off, it was never supposed to pass October 22 last year.”

While Steiner, the president and founder of Herostock, didn’t expect it to blow up like it has, Cunningham did. He was able to see the need for an event like this from his first-hand experience through Wheels 4 Warriors USA.

Now, Cunningham serves as the event coordinator for Herostock, and the two share the same vision.

“We want to provide people with positive things to do, positive groups to work with, positive people to be around — that’s what we want to do,” Cunningham said. “We want to change the mindset, provide positive mental health, and positive activities for people to experience.”

All 47 vendors that will be on hand at Saturday's Herostock at Round the Bend Steakhouse in Ashland are either veteran-for-profit or nonprofit.

“You know, if you don’t like motorcycles, guess what? I got a hunting and fishing group. I got a group that does ruck marches. I got a group that does equine therapy,” Steiner listed.

Sixteen different states will be represented Sept. 9 and the reception has been so strong that Herostock is looking to grow and possibly hit the road for a future concert series.

“Nineteen states that are requesting us to come to their state, look at their venue, and host this in their state because they see a need for it,” Cunningham said.

It all circles back to their mission — serving our heroes.

“It comes back to that number per day that we’re losing. They’ve just revamped that number from 22 to 44 veterans a day that lose their life to suicide.” Steiner said. “When you really start thinking about that, that’s 1.83 per hour.”

“You need to see what all these amazing groups are doing for veterans and first responders, and you need to come out and experience the camaraderie,” Cunningham pleaded. “It’s just amazing being around people who put everything above themselves.”

On top of all the vendors that will be in attendance, there are loads of activities and performances that are set to take place, starting at 8 a.m.

You can access the full list by clicking here.

You can be redirected to the Herostock website by clicking here.

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