This past Sunday, January 9 at RBQ, musicians came from near and far to help the Dayton Towers fire victims in the best way they know how—through the healing power of music. The all-day music festival, orchestrated by local songstress, Patricia McCartin, known by her stage name, Patti Blue, raised $1,000, of which all proceeds (minus the cash prize for the 50/50) went towards individuals devastated by the fire, including the McFadden family.
As reported in The Rockaway Times, just three days into the new year on Monday, January 3 at approximately 8:46 p.m., FDNY Engine 265, Ladder 121, Battalion 47, Engine 266, Engine 268, Ladder 137 and others responded to a call of a two-alarm blaze on the eighth floor of the 102-00 Shore Front Parkway Dayton Towers building. With below freezing temperatures and strong winds, flames quickly engulfed Apartment 8O, completely decimating the home of the McFadden family. Thankfully the residents of the apartment, including now five-year-old Peyton survived, except for unfortunately their dog. Surrounding apartments experienced smoke and water damage.
When McCartin got wind of what happened and learned that Peyton’s fifth birthday was the next day, she was determined to help.
“When I heard about the fire, my heart went into my stomach, plus learning that Peyton’s fifth birthday was the following day, I immediately went out and purchased a cake and gifts for her to celebrate. I was told that she loves Barbie dolls, and it gave me such joy to see the smile on her face,” McCartin said.
However, McCartin was desperate to do more. “I kept asking myself what more can I do. Music is a powerful symbol of love and healing, so I drummed up the idea to host a music festival as a fundraiser for the McFadden family and surrounding neighbors affected by the fire. However, besides raising money, I thought the next best gift we as musicians can give is our passion and appreciation for the power of music to heal.”
In just a mere few days, McCartin contacted her fellow music artists, Chris Long, John Baxter, The Rock-A-Wades (whose uncle was impacted by the fire), Rick Eckerle of ArchAngels, Ron Bongo, Al Swirn and DJ Miltey Boyle. Locals, Salvatore Lopizzo and Owen Loof (a.k.a. The Best Dressed Man in Rockaway), immediately jumped in to be guest bartenders. Once RBQ was secured as the venue, McCartin and her cohort of supporters went full steam ahead. The fundraiser included a 50/50, a live auction of an original painting of Rockaway Playland by Arnie, dances with The Best Dressed Man In Rockaway, and attendees who just kept on representing true Rockaway love with at-will donations. To top it all off was a $500 donation by RBQ’s proprietor, John Moroney, representing Rockaway/Breezy Point Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21.
For Moroney, AOH Division 21 treasurer and Queens County vice president, the entirety of the event represented what Rockaway does best—pay it forward. “When families stumble on difficult times, they need support from the community, and Rockaway is always there to support. So for AOH to lend a helping hand with our donation is just awesome not just for the family, but for us. It’s humbling to support all who suffered from this tragic fire,” Moroney said.
Though the all-day music festival has passed, there is another avenue through which folks can help. Local, Nina Soszynska, organized a GoFundMe for the McFadden family, who are forced to rebuild from the ground up. To make a donation toward the GoFundMe, search “Help Mc Fadden Family to rebuild their life” on GoFundMe.com or visit: https://gofund.me/cc1c8d23
By Kami-Leigh Agard
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