Five For Fighting helps troops reconnect with home

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11: Five for FIghting lead singer John Ondrasik performs at halftime between the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys during their NFL Season Opening Game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Elsa

Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik would receive emails from soldiers saying how much they would listen to his songs in their daily lives.

Whether it was before a mission or when they returned home, soldiers would tell Ondrasik how his songs helped them get through difficult times, or "escape from reality," even for a little while.

It was after hearing those stories that Ondrasik decided to do something more. "It really got me thinking about how music could be used to help the morale and mental well-being of our troops," said Ondrasik.

He has since compiled five albums to give away to United States troops, distributing more than a million CD compilations through the years. Some CDs would go overseas, others would be sent to military hospitals at home. Plenty of stars -- from all across the political spectrum -- lent their music the cause -- ranging from Melissa Etheridge and Josh Groban to Brooks and Dunn.

The project has been a way for Ondrasik and the other artists involved to say "thank you." "It's least thing we can do," Ondrasik

"For me it's a joy, it's an honor," said Ondrasik, who's behind such hits as "100 Years" and "Superman (It's Not Easy)."

Ondrasik, who just released a new Five For Fighting album, plans to stay involved in the cause comes 2014. "I have some good friends helping me -- me and [actor] Gary Sinise are going to be doing some stuff together next year."

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