By Lindsay Carey
Rocktober Fest is a family fun charity event on Sunday, Oct. 12 to support the Friends of Fisher House CT in their efforts to build a Fisher House near the VA hospital in West Haven. Southington residents Angelina Santa Maria and Todd Grosky, along with their co-chairs Kat Cole and Sara Mitchell, are organizing event for the second time this year.
Rocktober Fest will feature local bands, activities for the kids, food and beer tastings.
The local bands include Sick Since Sunday, Incahoots, Sellouts and No Shame. They will perform at the Stonebridge Tavern on 38 Barlow Street in Bristol, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Santa Maria said that the group wanted to make it a family fun event to inspire youth to give back.
“When you encourage young people to get together to have a good time and also do something that is a good cause, it teaches them that you can have can doing something that benefits someone else,” said Santa Maria.
She also said that her support the Fisher House Foundation comes from her own family experiences as a military daughter, former military spouse and also as a sibling.
“I come from a very long line of military heroes,” said Santa Maria.
Santa Maria’s step brother Army Major Sid Brookshire was killed in Bagdad, Iraq in 2007 and his passing sparked her passion in supporting veteran’s charities.
“He loved his country, his job, the outdoors, but above all, he loved his family,” said Santa Maria. “The support of family and friends is beyond measure in the life of a service member.”
This is one of the reasons why Santa Maria is so supportive of the Fisher House Foundation, because it supports military families when their serviceman returns home or as to home as they can.
Santa Maria said that her mother stayed in a Fisher House in Texas when her stepfather was being treated at a VA in Houston.
“It was very comforting for my mother to have a safe place to stay near him,” said Santa Maria. “She was also able to meet a lot of people that had the same experiences.”
When a service member comes back home injured and in need of care, it can be difficult for their families financially.
“Most active duty military families don’t make a lot of money,” said Santa Maria. “They have to commit to spending time away from family or a job and they just don’t have the resources to stay in a hotel and buy food.”
Attorney Kevin Creed, of the Creed Law Firm, said he was asked to help lead the Friends at Fisher House CT to support the Fisher House in West Haven, which will be breaking ground in April.
As 25 year veteran, Creed said that he wanted to find a charity that would help support the troops. According to Creed, 94 percent of the proceeds from the Fisher House Foundation go directly to the charity.
According to Creed, a Fisher House is built to last 100 years and everything inside the houses is top of the line.
In each house, there are typically 12 to 20 suites and each suite has a bedroom, sitting room and a private bathroom. The two story houses also have a common hallway to the kitchen, dining room, mediation room and there is also a room for kids.
“These houses serve as a quiet place of solitude,” said Creed. “The need is for the people.”
Southington has rallied around the charity with support from Veteran and Southington High School teacher Brian Durbin participating in Dancing with Our Heroes to smaller events like Rocktober Fest. Durbin was leading in donations throughout the preparation for the competition.
“Its very gratifying to see a community become so enthusiastic about this, other communities have been void in supporting their veteran,” said Creed. “I can’t think of a better way to support a veteran than through a Fisher House, because you’re not only supporting veterans but the families of those veterans.”
Tickets are on sale at http://www.fisherhousect.org/rocktober-fest. Presale tickets are $25 per person and at the door are $30 per person, $50 for a couple, $25 for ages 13-20 and $10 for children 12 and under. The ticket includes food and five beverage tickets for those over 21.
By Lindsay Carey