Concert to raise money for Cobb flooding victims
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
January 17, 2010 01:00 AM | 3420 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Denise Russo’s house was destroyed in last year’s flood, she was among those who lost everything. So she and her organization, Thirst Aid Live, will host ‘Restoration’ to raise money for her Cobb neighbors. The concert will feature performances by several artists and a silent auction.<br>Photo by Quinn Hood
When Denise Russo’s house was destroyed in last year’s flood, she was among those who lost everything. So she and her organization, Thirst Aid Live, will host ‘Restoration’ to raise money for her Cobb neighbors. The concert will feature performances by several artists and a silent auction.
Photo by Quinn Hood
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POWDER SPRINGS - It's ironic that a woman who runs a nonprofit that raises awareness for the global water crisis had her own home damaged by the flood last September. However, Denise Russo of Austell couldn't think of a better way to use her organization than to help her Cobb neighbors whose homes were also destroyed.

That is why Thirst Aid Live will host "Restoration," a benefit concert on Thursday to raise funds for victims of the flood. The concert starts at 7 p.m. at Trinity Chapel at 4665 Macland Road near New Macland Road in Powder Springs. It is free to the public, but donations are strongly encouraged.

Several well-known artists are scheduled to perform, including Grammy Award-winning R&B and Gospel singer Ann Nesby, contemporary Christian rock band Echoing Angels and Grammy Award-winning R&B singer "Q" Parker of the group 112. Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn, Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, as well as Cobb Commission Chairman Sam Olens, state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan and Cobb Sheriff Neil Warren are among guests expected to attend.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with a silent auction. Sale items include memorabilia such as an autographed Michael Jackson "Thiller" album and autographed guitars by U2, B.B. King and Taylor Swift. There will also be a private VIP reception and special presentation during the concert for hip-hop artist Chris "Ludacris" Bridges for his contribution to Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell.

Nearly 1,500 homes in Cobb were impacted by the flood in September, reports Cobb Disaster Recovery, a nonprofit volunteer-based organization founded in 2005 after Hurricane Dennis, that helps families meet their unmet needs to rebuild their homes.

The Cypress Club home of Russo was among those homes. Russo said 80 percent of her family's belongings were destroyed by the flood. Her son and daughter attend Clarkdale, which was also heavily damaged. Nevertheless, Russo said she is blessed.

"Despite the tragedy and losing nearly everything I have, it touched my heart that hundreds of people came to our aid," said Russo, 40, whose family is temporarily living in an apartment.

By organizing the benefit concert, Russo said she hopes it will touch other hearts to give. Her husband, celebrity photographer Quinn Hood, used his professional contacts to enlist the entertainers who'll be performing.

There are still many families who need help, said Brad Hulsey, chairman of the Cobb Disaster Recovery board of directors.

All proceeds from the concert will go directly to CDR. The organization will provide building materials and volunteers to help families rebuild their homes. An assessment performed last fall by a disaster response team determined that at least 185 families' home rebuilding needs remain unmet, Hulsey said.

"We are about helping those folks who are not going to be helped by the federal government," said Hulsey, former mayor of Powder Springs.

Laurie Wong is outreach pastor at Trinity Chapel, which she said has provided food, clothing and cleaning supplies to more than 764 victims.

"Trinity Chapel was one of the first churches to respond after the flood to offer help," Wong said.

Besides hosting the concert, the church has also designed a commemorative T-shirt for the event, Wong said. The T-shirt should also be available for $20 online at TrinityChapel.org.

Proceeds will benefit a free medical clinic for the public that will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 13 at the church. It will provide free medical, dental and chiropractic care, including health screenings and lab work, as well as mental health and family counseling services.

Russo said her home will not benefit from the proceeds raised by the concert. Instead, she said she simply hopes that people will support the effort to help other families still struggling to rebuild.

"I might have lost everything I have, but I still have everything that I need," she said.
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