Music Lessons for the troops

Tags: HeroStories

Came across this story tonight. A great idea.


John Santa and Lt. Col. Greg Rawlings both appreciate two things - the sacrifice of soldiers and bluegrass music.

So the pair decided to turn an annual jam session into a "musicathon" to benefit the Fisher House, where families of wounded soldiers stay on Fort Bragg.

"The way this thing works is, it's kind of like a walkathon where people sponsor you for so many hours," said Rawlings, who plays the guitar, bass and mandolin.

From noon to midnight Jan. 19, the RDU Session Players - and any other bluegrass musicians who want to join in - will test their endurance and fundraising skills at the American Legion Post 6, 1714 Legion Road in Chapel Hill.

Organizers hope the jam session will raise as much as $10,000.

"Which is significantly bigger than this jam session has ever done before," Rawlings said.

All of the money raised will go to the Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that builds houses where families of injured service members stay when visiting their loved ones in the hospital.

The house on Fort Bragg is being replaced with a larger home with 12 suites, said Derek Donovan, the vice president of operations.

"It's full all the time," he said of the existing house.

The replacement house will be built near the current location at 12 Bassett St., Donovan said. He estimated the total cost for the 10,000-square-foot building at between $3million and $4.5 million.

Fisher Houses are designed to look and feel like a home, not a hotel, Donovan said. That helps put families more at ease after visiting injured or sick service members.

"I wouldn't say they are luxurious," Donovan said. "They are very well made."

Staff writer Sarah A. Reid can be reached at, or 323-4848, ext. 2