For Chris Culos, drummer for the band O.A.R., one of life’s beautiful moments occurred in the midst of chaos. Speaking Saturday afternoon as part of the Life Is Beautiful festival‘s learning portion inside Fremont Country Club, Culos spoke about O.A.R’s life-changing participation in a 2007 USO tour in the Middle East.
“We were surprised to see how grateful they were that we went over there,” he said of the soldiers they entertained. “We were having a really happy moment.”
That gratitude would soon be reflected back by the band. As O.A.R. was preparing to leave an on-base hospital in Iraq, a rocket explosion, described by Culos as “earth rattling,” happened close by, spurring the surrounding medical personnel into action. Although Culos and the other band members were rushed to a safe area, they were still in the midst of nurses and doctors rushing to deliver medical supplies, and at one point, they were even asked for their own blood types.
Culos described the experience as “the most real situation” he’s ever been in and said that it helped solidify for him the importance of giving back to others, something the band continues to do.
“It put everything into context,” he said.