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‘Friends’ West Fest to benefit RO Foundation this Saturday

From the Dunkirk Evening Observer --

Good friends will gather for a good cause this Saturday as the RO Foundation along with several area businesses present the "Friends West Fest" event.

Founded in 2010 by Joseph C. Russo Jr. and Margaret R. Owen, The RO Foundation mission is to raise monies through fundraising events and donations to assist local medical patients and their families with monies to offset cost associated with "transportation" to and from medical appointments for treatments.

"The RO Foundation has awarded over $3,000 to patients traveling as far away as Indiana and Michigan and as close as Buffalo. Our friend, Pat Coughlin is going through this again and he wants to help others while helping us to spread the word of the RO Foundation's mission," Russo noted. "What better way than to invite all our friends down to 'West Fest' for a big get-together."

The event which began as a simple idea has grown and really blossomed into what hopes to be an exciting event for the community and for the RO Foundation.

"It's all about friends. That's why we named it "Friends" West Fest because we wanted one big party for all of our friends and new friends to meet, reunite and to help a lot of people. That's what it's all about," Russo said.

The event includes the following musical act: 1 p.m., Fallen Union at BJ's; 2:20 p.m., A Cappella group Much More Chill, on the sidewalk; 3 p.m., Ion Sky with Tara Graves at Coughlan's; 4 p.m., Acoustic Soul at BJ's ; 4:30 p.m., A Cappella group Riveters on the sidewalk; 5:30 p.m., Gina V. with Side Effect at 41 West Bar and Grille; 6:30 p.m., Big Tone at Coughlan's; and at 8:00 p.m., Sean Patrick McGraw at 41 West Bar and Grille.

The RO Foundation is working with BJ's, Coughlan's Pub, Subway, The Brick Room and 41 West Bar and Grille to put the event together, however, the creation stages of the not-for-profit organization began with a need and an idea. Pat Coughlin, co-owner of Coughlan's Pub, helped Russo research the idea for the Foundation.

"He helped me research what cancer patients go through, the travel back and forth, and how they have to sit and wait and if they missed the bus and so on. It was a big help to me," Russo said of Coughlin.

Research has proven the need for assistance in transporting patients to their scheduled appointments for needed treatments. No one is prepared for the cost of unexpected emergencies that involve traveling to and from hospitals near and far.

"My wife Dot and I have experienced this first hand or know someone that has, it can be very overwhelming," Russo noted.

"A month before I lost my father to cancer I decided I was going to make a difference by raising money or by getting the information out there," Owen noted. "I started my own Relay for Life team and a week before the event my father passed. I have been doing Relay for Life ever since and when Joe asked me to join him to help local people, there was no hesitation. It is something that needs to be done to help local families."

A $5 donation will be collected at each participating establishment. While the donation is not mandatory to enjoy the entertainment it is greatly appreciated. With the donation, tickets for nine draft beers will be given as well. Raffles will take place throughout the day with a wide variety of items to select from, including Buffalo Bills paraphernalia. A limited amount of T-shirts will also be sold for $15. Food will also be available throughout the day as many area caterers, restaurants and pizzerias are donating items.

If you are unable to attend but would like to donate send check payable to RO Foundation and in note, put West Fest and send to: RO Foundation, 212 Lake Shore Dr. W., Dunkirk, N.Y. 14048 or visit and click on donation tab for PayPal (October 1, 2011 October 22, 2011).

Welcome to the new site!

Thanks for coming by the new webpage and for reading this blog!!! Gina and the team are going to use this site, the Facebook fan page, and Twitter to keep everyone up to date on what's happening with the new CD, the live shows, and the Benefits and Festivals we are playing. We hope everyone enjoys this! Feel free to post in the Forums and...especially...come see a live show! Just remember your dancin' boots! :)

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