Marathon jam nets thousands for Fisher House

Fisher HouseWe told you a few weeks ago about the Marathon Jam scheduled for January 31 to benefit Fisher House, an organization that provides housing for families of wounded American servicemen and women receiving treatment at military hospitals.

The jam was scheduled to run for 12 hours at a number of cities in the US, including a truncated session at Camp Victory in Baghdad. It was organized with the help of John Santa, author of Bluegrass Is My Second Language, who has been involved for several years in a jam benefit for Fisher House in Chapel Hill, NC.

Santa contacted us yesterday with some information on how the 1/31 events went down.

“The RDU Session Players are very proud to announce they will be giving the North Carolina Fisher House at Ft. Bragg somewhere between nine and ten thousand dollars for the 2009 Marathon Jam! The donations are starting to slow down now, but I still get people coming up to me and writing a check or sending a letter with pledges enclosed.

Our current estimate is the Chapel Hill Marathon Jam will raise over $6,500. Tucson ($200) and Birmingham ($400) are sending their money to us to give to Ft Bragg since there are no Fisher Houses in their states. Baghdad raised about $2500 to give to Ft. Bragg, so at this point we’re really hoping to hit or break $10,000!

The Richmond Marathon Jam donated $200 to the Virginia Fisher House. Coon Rapids and Birchdale will give over $1500 to the Minnesota Fisher House in Minneapolis.

All who participated in the Marathon Jams across the country (and the world!) were touched by the generosity of people willing to give in such difficult economic times. The soldiers in Baghdad reported civilians and soldiers alike putting one hundred dollar bills in their banjo cases as donations.

In Chapel Hill, a man gave his frequent flier miles to the Fisher House so a family could travel to their loved ones for free, and one person donated a thousand dollars! Several hundred people from all over North Carolina came and listened to (and PLAYED in) the jam session throughout the twelve hour period and the American Legion reported the crowd was the nicest they had ever seen at a Legion event!

Many of the players had never met or played together before the Jam and a great time was had by all and new musical friendships were forged over the common bond of making music to help others. In Minnesota, people braved the minus ten degree weather to come and support the troops and their families!”

Donations are still being accepted for Fisher House online.

Santa also plans to organize a Marathon Jam for Fisher House next year, and asks that any groups that would like to help put something together where they live, please contact him online

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.