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Aug 24, 2013 11:14 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Concert raises money and awareness for survivors of the Black Forest Fire

"Music in the forest, for the forest," was the motto for the Benefit for Black Forest concert held at Wonderland Ranch on Saturday afternoon to raise money for fire relief efforts.

The concert brought in multiple bands and performers including the famous Doug Kershaw. The event was organized by the Black Rose Acoustic Society which has a strong connection to the area.

"We've been doing shows in Black Forest for almost 20-years," described Black Rose President Jeff Smith. "We've got quite a bond with the people of Black Forest so we wanted to do something for them."

As they watched the Black Forest Fire destroy nearly 500 homes and take the lives of two people Smith and his group felt as powerless as everybody else.

"There was a video on YouTube that showed this massive amount of flame in the intersection of Shoup and Black Forest," Smith said. "Rumors started flying that the community center had burned down at one point, we didn't know if we were going to be able to do anymore shows here."

Thankfully the Black Forest Community Center did not burn and the society held another concert there on Friday. Anywhere else the fire didn't burn the society has also tried to arrange performances. Saturday's concert was held at Wonderland Ranch on Hodgen Road, which was untouched by flames but was used as a spot for helicopters to load up on water for air drops.

Aside from the bands and musicians relief organizations were also at the event to gather donations and educate residents on resources available to those who lost homes or suffered damage. Eddie Bracken, President of Black Forest Together, said the concert and other events have helped to revive community spirit.

"You know we got to bring this community back together, there's a lot of grief, people are still having trouble dealing with the fact that they've lost their home and their animals," Bracken said.

The proceeds from the concert went to Tri-Lakes Cares, which continues to offer aid to survivors.

"We're probably looking at at least a year before these people, you know some of them might get back in their homes in six-months," explained Cindi Monahan, a board member for Tri-Lakes Cares. "But some of them, it might be a whole year that they're displaced."

Tri-Lakes Cares is still in need of help from the entire community. Donations of food, money, household goods are still being sought as well as volunteers. More information can be found at www.tri-lakescares.org

 

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