ROC For Fire Relief Concert and Fire Expo Helps Neighbors, Celebrates
October 1, 2008 (Lakeside) - “Relief is still needed in a serious way,” said Randy Seol of
the band Strawberry Alarm Clock, a longtime San Diego resident who watched
in horror with the rest of us as our county was ravaged by the 2003 and 2007
wildfires. Some fire survivors are now losing their FEMA trailers; many
are struggling in severe financial and emotional need to rebuild their lives,
Seol decided to do something to help the families whose homes
and lives were destroyed by the fire. So he used his connections in the music
industry to organize a major live music event and fire expo to raise money
for local victims.
“It’s time for the people to help the people,” said Seol,
who called upon many of his old musician friends from the heyday of ‘60s
and ‘70s rock. Old rockers heeded his call, and after countless hours
of work Seol has assembled an impressive bill featuring stellar names from
the world of garage, psychedelic and classic rock: Badfinger, the Electric
Prunes, Canned Heat, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Sky Saxon & the
Seeds, the Rose Garden, and of course the Strawberry Alarm Clock themselves,
are all making rare live appearances to help the cause.
Nobody in San Diego County can forget the devastation and disruption caused
by those blazes, but once the fires were extinguished, the story seemed to
disappear overnight as media attention shifted elsewhere. Yet after-effects
of the fire are still being felt by hundreds of families and individuals, young
and old, including both renters and homeowners.
The event, to be held at Lakeside Rodeo Grounds on Saturday, October 4, also
aims to educate San Diego County residents with a Public Safety Expo, including
fire safety exhibits, emergency readiness, health and safety resources, earth-friendly
rebuilding, energy efficiency tips, and renewable energy booths. Food, beverages
and merchandise will also be sold.
It’s the stories of real San Diego area families that most inspired
Seol to put together the event, and money raised will directly benefit these
Bill and Judy Thompson, their 13-year-old daughter,Jessica, and 11-year-old
son Joshua, lost their Dulzura home in the 2007 fire. The property, where
Judy had lived since childhood, was not insured. Judy is a teacher who lost
her job due to budget cuts, and the family has been struggling to rebuild and
put some stability back into their lives. A bridge leading to their house was
also burned in the fire. They are working to afford the costs of fixing the
bridge and replacing their home and all that they lost.
Claudia Ortega is a single mom with four children, ages 16, 14, 6 and 4, Alejandra,
Manuel, Claudia, Maximiliano. Claudia’s parents, Alejandra and Jose Rivera,
also live with the family. They worked hard to buy their four-bedroom, two-bathroom
home in Tecate, but their budget could not stretch to insurance. Then the Harris
Fire hit, and their home and all of their belongings were consumed in the flames.
After the fire they were forced to stay with family and were broken into separate
temporary homes. FEMA came to their aid, but the grant could only stretch so
far, and the trailer they had was on loan for a limited time. Their only remaining
option was a loan from SBA, but three separate applications were denied because
the family is self-employed. Claudia’s goal is simply to reunite her
family. All their memories and everything they owned were lost in the fire,
but they are just thankful to have each other.
The stories of the Thompsons and the Ortegas are typical of dozens of other
families across Southern California.
Tickets cost $30. Order online at www.rocsd.net or
buy tickets (cash only) at Wild Bill’s Western Emporium, 1235 Broadway,