LAKE BENTON - Lonny Carpenter preaches the word at the Lighthouse Assembly in Lake Benton, but whenever he can he loves to sing songs of praise and remembrance for America's veterans.
With his partners Doc Snow on piano and Jerry McCollough on bass guitar, Carpenter plays at events around the area.
He has also recorded CDs and music videos such as: "The Greatest Generation, Thank You for America," "A Carpenter's Son," "Don't Let Me Forget You (The Alzheimer's Song)" and, always popular in this area, "The Wind Tower Song."
Carpenter and his wife Angie grew up in Lake Benton but moved away for a while before coming back and establishing the Lighthouse Assembly.
"We've been here about 11 years now," Angie Carpenter said. "Lonny was a pastor in Nebraska then came back here."
Angie Carpenter has a beautiful voice and used to perform with her husband and three daughters, but these days prefers to work behind the scenes, Lonny Carpenter said.
"I started music about 1979-80," Lonny Carpenter said. "My ex-brother-in-law talked me into buying a guitar, I learned to play, and I've been playing ever since. Most of what I write tells a story, they're ballads."
The story ballad of "The Greatest Generation" came to him when he was watching TV.
"The World War II one, I was watching the History Channel. I always have a guitar by me and it inspired me to write," Lonny Carpenter said. "It took me two or three days. I wanted to say 'thank you' from America for the greatest generation."
Because of that song, Lonny and Angie were invited to accompany a group of veterans on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. last September. Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that honors World War II veterans by taking them to Washington, D.C. to visit the various memorials of that war.
Lonny Carpenter has also written a song, "My Vietnam" for veterans of that war. Angie's father was a veteran of three tours of duty in Vietnam.
"We played shows in South Dakota and Minnesota, and there wasn't a show a Vietnam vet didn't say, 'You need to write a song about us,'" Lonny Carpenter said. "When people play it or see the video they say it brings back memories, but it makes them feel good."
Lonny's music is slowly making headway in the music and music video market, and they're trying to get the CDs and DVDs made available in military museums and veterans' homes.
"We charge to set up and pay expenses, but we play for free. We sell product to good crowds but we're not making a living at it," Lonny Carpenter said. "We have a lot of fun. People always love the show and leave happy."