Hundreds turn out for blues benefit

Concert raised funds for veterans memorial park
By: Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
-A +A
For a small group of local veterans, teaching children about the sacrifice of the country’s soldiers is the driving force behind a planned memorial park. John Cordova and Adrian Garcia, both veterans of the Vietnam War, formed The Fallen Warriors Memorial project and Saturday was the kick-off fundraiser for the park. Blues and Brews, sponsored by the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills, brought in some big name talent and plenty of locals to raise funds and awareness. “This is awesome,” Cordova said as he looked out over the crowd gathered at the El Dorado Hills Community Services District Gymnasium. “The community is getting involved in this project and that’s what we need. The message is simple — never forget the veterans.” Dick Grinnell, also with the organization, said many local men and women are currently serving, or have served, their country in the armed forces. “El Dorado Hills residents don’t realize how many veterans sacrificed a lot and many live here,” he said. Garcia said the veterans group met with the CSD but it was a connection with a service organization that really got the ball rolling. “We started at the CSD and John Cordova met Robert Leon, who has ties with Rotary, and then it came together,” Garcia said. “It was like a marriage meant to be.” Leon said the group has to raise a lot of money to see the project through to completion. “We’re looking at (up to) $2 million,” he said. “We’re gearing it for education and the schools in our community. The teacher can bring the kids (to the park) and it’s like a time machine.” That time machine includes information on wars the country has fought, beginning with World War I and on through Iraq. “There will be a path the kids can follow,” Cordova said. “They can learn about it when the schools get to that part of history.” A reflecting pool is also in the works. Leon, a Rotarian, said he brought the project to the club and they immediately wanted to be a part of it. “My job was to organize it and set up the committees,” Leon said. Chelsea Slick was one of many who performed at the benefit concert. “As we remember our fallen warriors, we will never forget you,” she told the crowd. Bill Tobin, president of the Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills, has a son in the Air Force and Slick is his sister. “We probably have (about) 500 people here tonight,” he said. “At the Memorial Day dedication (of the park’s site), our club pledged our support. We miss those kids.” Tobin said the evening was a way to celebrate the service of veterans and those who didn’t make it home. “Rather than mourn, I think they would want us to have fun,” Tobin said. “My son is in the military and going to Afghanistan soon. I can’t think of a better way to honor those who’ve fallen.” He said the turnout was greater than expected. “This is better than I imagined it could be,” he said. “We wanted the community to be aware this is an active CSD project that they need to be a part of it to see it happen.” Kelee Bordeaux, of Fairfield, was backstage preparing to go on in a later set. She was one of the semi-finalists for “American Idol” during its fourth season. “I’m excited,” she said. “I’m trying to meet some vets. When I saw all the cars (in the parking lot) when I pulled in, I thought, ‘This is a good turn out.’” Sharon and Bill Daly, of El Dorado Hills, were ready for some floor time. “We’re trying to support the Fallen Warriors Memorial fund,” Bill Daly said. Final figures on the amount raised were unavailable as of press time.