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Over $1,600 raised at benefit for families displaced by apartment fire

5 February 2012 No Comment

Rock group "1800 and Frozen to Death" performs at the Thought Lot to benefit victims of a fire that occurred on January 16th in Shippensburg on Saturday, Feb. 4 (Public Opinion/Ryan Blackwell)

BY KATRINA PANASIUK; For ShipNewsNow

Local residents emptied their pockets and opened their ears at The Thought Lot on Saturday as several bands blasted sounds the sounds of rock and roll music.

The event, entitled “Help They Neighbor,” was  held by Post Now PA and local rock bands, to raise funds for the families of 130 E. Garfield St. who lost their home and possessions in an early morning apartment building fire on Jan. 16.

The benefit featured five local bands including Eighteen Hundred and Frozen to Death, Big Marge, The Lugosi’s, Shredfyre, and The Civil.

It was deemed a success by spectators at The Lot, including one man who lost his home to the blazing fire last month.

Shawn Keating explained he was not expecting such fundraiser like this with so many people and so much community support.

“They’ve already exceeded my expectations,” he said. “(I’m) originally from a much bigger city, I could never expect something like this, but being in this small town with such big support is amazing.”

The victim expressed gratitude for supporting companies including Walmart and The American Red Cross whom have both offered monetary donations to the former residents of the Garfield unit.

Generosity extended deeper than imagined, Keating said, with one of the most supportive contributors being his former landlord.

“It has ultimately been a learning experience, especially when it comes to home-owners insurance. I remember asking myself ‘how could I be so stupid to not have that?,’” Keating said.

None of the five families affected by the fire had home insurance and although possibly regretting that lack of investment, they are experiencing an enormous offering by the area community. The five bands musically expressed their sympathy for the five families, raising more than $1600 to help them get back on track.

Anthony Adams, event organizer and Big Marge guitarist, planned the event for Keating, his friend of five years after helping him move after the disaster.

“Seeing it first-hand made me realize they need help,” said Adams.

It did not take much convincing for Thought Lot owners, as the men behind The Lot are constantly searching for charity work and philanthropic events.

A leading affiliate of The Lot, Frank Cressler remained optimistic throughout the event that had only one purpose “to help these folks.”

“We’re a community based organization looking to promote cultural and economic development. We have a vision of what we want in the community and we want to help anyone we can,” said Cressler.

Many supporters said they came out to support the families and listen to some good music, including Ashley Benseo Shippensburg University student.

“I heard there was a band playing and also wanted to support the cause because my husband suffered a house fire,” said Courtney Koivisto.

Whether they were there to support the band, the families, The Lot, their friends, or the overall community, local residents expressed both their generosity and support for the families displaced by the fire.

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