Rock and rollers taking the stage to raise money for Santa Barbara County's first responders
Musicians from Chicago, The Romantics, The Cars among those performing Saturday.
It was a powerful moment at a special event thanking first responders who helped Santa Barbara County residents cope with the massive Thomas Fire, and Montecito debris flow. Pop star Katy Perry was among those who performed at the 2018 Kick Ash Bash. But, what started as a onetime thank-you party has led to an organization helping some of the first responders who help us.
Richard Weston-Smith is President, and Co-Founder of One805, the group that put on the Kick Ash Bash. He says they raised a lot of money from what started as a thank you event. The organization teamed up with the county’s fire and law enforcement public agencies to see how they could help them.
Weston-Smith says they realized they could raise money for public safety agencies to get equipment, and training the government doesn’t already fund. They got non-profit status for One805, and enlisted the heads of the agencies to help with the project.
He says the goal is to fill some of the funding gaps, to insure first responders have what they need to do the best job possible.
Weston-Smith talks about some of the things One805 has helped fund during the last four years. It included buying a robot to allow searches of buildings and areas too dangerous for people to search, and helping to upgrade a helicopter used for firefighting, and the transportation of injured people.
And, one of the major new efforts is to provide funds for counseling for firefighters in Santa Barbara County, as well as their families.
This Saturday, the organization is holding a star studded concert and celebration to support first responders efforts. It includes legendary Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine, and Elliot Easton of The Cars.
There’s also an auction including signed guitars from some of the performers, along with original art by Bernie Taupin. The Santa Ynez Valley artist is the longtime songwriting partner of Elton John, who wrote some of the duo’s classics like “Daniel” and “Bennie and the Jets.”