Event will benefit Worcester County Warriors nonprofit
By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(March 28, 2019) Discounted tickets are on sale for the third annual “Rock for Recovery” concert, featuring live music by Tranzfusion and benefiting the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction.
Online advance tickets for the April 28 event at the West Ocean City Greene Turtle are $8.79, until April 12. Tickets will then be $10 at the door. The event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Two local mothers, Jackie Ball and Heidi McNeeley, founded the Worcester County Warriors in 2016 after learning each had children who struggled with heroin addiction.
That year, the nonprofit’s initial public meeting in the Ocean Pines library drew about 50 people. By their second meeting, held a month later, attendance had swelled to several hundred, solidifying both the Warriors as a group and the belief that the opioid epidemic had indeed reached Worcester County.
McNeeley said Rock for Recovery was started after one of the Greene Turtle managers reached out to her husband, Jamie.
“He had possibly some personal connections to addiction, and he talked about having customers come in that were obviously using and he wanted to give them some information and some help,” she said.
Funds raised during the event help local people get into treatment – and to stay there.
“We continue to get requests from people who are living in a sober home and have lost their jobs, so they’re unable to keep up with the rent. Or, they’re just moving in and looking for a job, so we’ll guarantee a couple weeks’ rent,” McNeeley said.
For years, McNeeley has stressed the urgency of an addict who is asking for help, and much of the work the Warriors have done involves getting people into treatment before they get cold feet or use again.
“I think our biggest thing is we don’t want [to see] people who have that window of opportunity where they say they’re ready to get help, they’re ready to go into treatment, but they can’t get there,” she said. “If they can’t find a ride there or they can’t afford whatever the associated costs are, we’ve purchased plane tickets to get people to a rehab [facility] and we’ve found ways to get them where they need to be.
“That’s really become our primary focus,” McNeeley continued. “We added it up last year, and we’ve spent almost $20,000 helping 60 people into recovery. We’re pretty excited about that.”
“Addiction affects all of us. We have to lose the stigma, so that we can all just help each other,” she said.
Rock for Recovery will feature door prizes and silent auctions, including hotel and golf packages, restaurant gift certificates and other items donated by local businesses. For information on donating door prizes or silent auction items, call or text Jamie McNeeley at 202-409-6537.
Several local restaurants have also committed to donating food for the event, McNeeley said, and information about the Worcester County Warriors will also be made available.
McNeeley said she’s excited this year with the addition of popular local classic rock group Tranzfusion to the entertainment lineup.
The band began in 1977 in Cambridge as “Just Us,” and was renamed Tranzfusion in 1983. They’ve been playing classic rock by The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who in the resort community for four decades.
Drummer Bobby Malaby said the band has played with virtually the same lineup since it began, with Hank Koenig on lead guitar and Bob Davis on keyboard. Al Cook joined as the bass player about two years ago, replacing original bassist Tom Malaby, who is now working full-time as an electrical engineer for Northrup Grumman at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
He said the band has endured because they’re always learning new songs and buying new and more modern equipment to improve the audio quality of the band, and because they all just enjoy playing music together.
“We constantly practice,” Malaby said. “I feel like a lot of bands get as good as they’re going to get and they don’t worry about getting better.”
Lately, he said the band has added several songs from 1980s to their set list, including Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police.
“The ’80s stuff seems to go over really, really well,” Malaby said. “We’ve gotten back to doing a couple Billy Idol songs, and we still have stuff in our arsenal that we’ve had since the ’80s.
“We’re always trying to bring new stuff in. Even if maybe we did it a long time ago, we’ll bring it back and it’s still new to our audience. I feel like in the last couple years we’ve really built a lot in our audience … and I feel like we’ve developed a whole new following [in North Ocean City],” he added.
Last month, the band held the “Dancing for Diana” fundraiser for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Malaby said Tranzfusion enjoys playing those kinds of benefits.
“We like to give back to the community and we feel like [The Worcester Warriors] are a real worthy cause,” he said.
Tranzfusion will next perform during the M.R. Ducks opening party this Saturday, March 30, starting at 2 p.m.
Additional upcoming dates include a “Live Aboard the Harbor Queen” performance Saturday, June 8 from 8:30-11:30 p.m. in Annapolis, and performing during a “Raven Cruise on The Bay” on Saturday, Aug. 17 in Baltimore.
For a full schedule, visit www.tranzfusionband.com or for more information visit www.facebook.com/tranzfusionband.
For more information on the Worcester County Warriors Against Opiate Addiction, visit www.wocowarriors.org or www.facebook.com/WorcesterCountyWarriors.