story & photo
by Brendan Casey
On Friday, June 4th, I attended the Dave Mason and Kal David benefit concert for Work Vessels for Veterans (WVFV) at the Garde Arts Center, New London.
The benefit concert opened with Natalie Gelman a singer/songwriter from New York. She stood alone with her guitar on stage and filled the room with her warm voice. Next up was Kal David and the Real Deal with Lauri Bono, whose unique blues/jazz sound was a crowd pleaser.
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason, a founding member of the English rock band Traffic and later toured with Fleetwood Mac, was the headliner of the evening. Dave is also on the board of trustees for WVFV and a national advocate for the charity.
Dave finished his set and the crowd went into an uproar begging for more. After much anticipation, Kal David and the Real Deal, Lauri Bono, joined Dave Mason on stage and they all jammed together. Nobody in the audience sat back down, instead the packed crowd began dancing in the aisle. It was a glorious event and I can think of no greater way to kick start the summer.
Work Vessels for Veterans is an all-volunteer organization assisting veterans, who honorably served, transition back to civilian life. WVFV was started in 2008 when a local lobsterman, John Niekrash, CEO and founder of WVFV, donated a boat to Rich Giguere, a marine returning home from Iraq who wanted to make a living off the water.
WVFV contributed over 100 laptops to veterans wishing to pursue further education or start their own business. WVFV also gave eight vehicles, such as boats, vans, tractors and tools. One local veteran used a van to start a chimney sweep business.
Recently WVFV purchased a farm in Jacksonville, FL, and leases the property to Adam Burke, a disabled vet, who desired to start a blueberry farm. Adam is able to focus on the farming and hires other disabled vets, educating them on how to maintain a business and cultivate the land.
Making the transition from military to civilian life for many is difficult and WVFV is helping to bridge the gap for many service men and women. All proceeds from the concert went to this wonderful organization.
I strongly recommend checking out future events form WVFV. On July 18, join us at Operation Lobster Dinner hosted by Grossman Seafood, Groton, with all proceeds going to WVFV and Families of the Groton Subase.
To all those in attendance you made the event a huge success! For more information on Work Vessels for Veterans and upcoming events visit www.workvesselsforveterans.org.