More on last weekend’s Ernie Thacker benefit

Audience at the February 10 benefit for Ernie Thacker in Ohio.

Organizer Ernie Evans shared some further details about the benefit concert he put on with his company, Evans Media Source, last Saturday, and about which we posted on Monday. They raised $10,000 for Ernie and his family, and had provided a live stream for Thacker to watch of the music and tributes.

The two Ernies had been friends since their youth, and Evans leapt into action as soon as he learned that Thacker many injuries and ailments left over from a car crash in 2006 could no longer be treated medically. He sent this report to share the story, and to offer thanks and credit to all the folks who assisted with the concert.

“Ernie had called me right after the unfortunate news was received from the head doctor of a team of physicians, informing him that he would not survive the diagnosis of Osteomyelitis now migrating up through his spine. We spoke at length as he shared his feelings and concerns. His request was help to keep his wife, Karen Thacker, from having to endure the debt from funeral expenses as he was uninsured. He also expressed to me that she has been his full time care giver and will immediately be unemployed with no source of income.

Debi and I went to work on assembling a benefit show right away. Our work as promoters realy came in handy as we produced this show from a thousand miles away in Florida. Our first order of business was to establish a team to handle various components of an event, and do it in a short amount of time. Time was never on our side because we were uncertain of Ernie’s time line, and more than anything, we wanted to releive our dear friend of the stress of the pressure the finances were putting on him in his final days.

There are so many to thank but I want to thank our production team, the bands, the donors and the attendees. Thier generous contributions of time and compassion are what truly made this a success.

Ernie was not able to be there but we streamed the event live for him to hear from his room at the hospital. I was also able to pipe him into the PA so he could call in at any time. He made two calls to thank everyone and the bands.

It was a heart warming night with more energy in one room than I have ever seen. The room stayed packed most of the day and into the night with an enthusiastic audience. Debi and I drove to Ohio in the middle of our busy season, so we had to drive back immediately folliowng the event.”

Bands who participated with no fee:

  • Crabgrass
  • Jeff Brown and Darrell Webb with Still Lonesome
  • Ernie Evans
  • Junior Sisk
  • Larry Cordle
  • Larry Efaw and The Bluegrass Mountaineers
  • Don Rigsby
  • Dave Adkins
  • Sammy Adkins and The Sandy Hook Mtn Boys
  • Ralph Stanley II and The Clinch Mountain Boys
  • Cannie Creek
  • Evans Brothers
  • Matt Thacker Route 23 Reunion Band

Arlin Brandford served as master of ceremonies.

Thacker shared these words after the concert concluded…

“I am overwhelmed with happiness and even though I am in my hospital bed with clots in my legs and in my lungs, I can’t wipe this smile off of my face. I listened to the whole show online and I felt like I was there the whole time. It was as if I felt the presence of God with me all day.”

Ernie Thacker

Evans asked that we especially thank the folks who served on the production team for Saturday’s show. Below is a list of the people Ernie worked with beforehand and during the concert, but many of them also had a team working with them whose names he didn’t know.

But he expresses his deep gratitude to everyone who helped out.

  • Arlin Bradford
  • Becky Efaw
  • Jeff Brown
  • Lisa Efaw
  • Don Rigsby
  • Jan Hudson
  • Jeannie Brown
  • Jeniffer Thacker
  • Mathew Thacker
  • Pearl Hamilton Jr
  • Jerry Eicher
  • Larry Payton
  • Wally Ball
  • Richland County Fairgrounds Management

Debi Evans, Ernie’s partner with Evans Media Source, was particularly touched by the outporing of love shown by all the participants and the audience.

“In the music industry, we keep our services in the forefront all of the time and rarely get to see this side of each other. This project displayed so much compassion and was truly one of the most proudest moments in bluegrass.”

 Donations are still being accepted for Thacker at the bank where his aunt is employed.

New People’s Bank
c/o Theda Viers
PO Box F
Haysi, VA 24256

To see our previous articles about Ernie’s accident and its aftermath, follow this link.

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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.