MTSU Alumni and Local Veteran Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut

Sal Gonzalez made his Grand Ole Opry debut Tuesday to a sold out crowd and two standing ovations. Sal a resident of Rutherford County and even Alumni of MTSU is also a United States Marine Corps Veteran.

After the terror attacks of 9/11, Sal decided to serve his country and shifted his focus from music to being a United States Marine – a title he would later earn in late 2003. After training to become a machine gunner, Sal proudly served with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines and would later be deployed to Iraq in the late summer of 2004. On October 31, 2004, Sal’s vehicle was struck for the 7th time during that deployment, killing Lt. Matthew D. Lynch and severely injuring Sal and one other.

Sal was flown to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where, after coming out of a weeklong coma, he learned the extent of his injuries. After more than 30 surgeries and 4 months of hospitalization, his left leg was amputated below the knee. Once healed, he was sent to San Antonio Medical Center in Texas, where he spent the next year learning to walk on his new prosthetic leg. Sal retired from the United States Marine Corps in late 2005 and, after a quick stay back home in Los Angeles, CA, he moved to Nashville, TN to pursue his dreams of songwriting and performing. After meeting his wife Christy and forming their beautiful family , they and their two children moved to Murfreesboro where they raise their family.

Making the already special night even more special Sal announced he would be signed to Label22 an all Veteran founded and operated Recording and Management company formed by Country music singer-songwriter, longtime friend and fellow Marine Veteran Stephen Cochran who is also a resident and former Jr./Sr.Vice Commander and a founding member of VFW Stones River Post 12206.

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