D.C. Rocks to Raise Money for Troops
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2005 Washington's young professional crowd turned out in droves at the Hard Rock Café here Sept. 16 to show support for the military and to raise money for military families affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The benefit, "D.C. Rocks for the Troops," included appearances by former cast members of MTV's "The Real World," daytime television stars and the Redskinettes. New York's famous cover band, Café Wha, coaxed people out to the dance floor with a lively mix of music.
The event was organized by a few young D.C. professionals and was supported by the Armed Forces Foundation, an organization that helps military families in need through direct cash assistance, bereavement and housing programs.
Larry Estrada, the director of public sector advocacy for Hewlett Packard and one of the organizers of the event, said he and a couple of friends originally planned this benefit to raise money for families affected by the war. When the hurricane hit, they saw a clear need and decided to donate part of the proceeds to military families along the Gulf Coast who needed assistance, he said.
Estrada, whose father served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, said he has always had a great appreciation for the military and wanted to do his part to help.
"Military families and soldiers who have been injured in the war could use all the help and support we can give them," he said.
Estrada and his friends enlisted the help of several technology companies and other businesses in the area to fund the event, and they were not disappointed with the number of donations, he said.
"I was impressed by the response of the community around D.C. as well as the response of the business community," he said. "Folks understood the need."
Another person Estrada contacted for support was Adam King, former cast member on MTV's "The Real World Paris." King, who flew in from California for the event, said he saw it as a great opportunity to support the military and those affected by the hurricane in a way other than monetary donations.
"I wanted to give my support in general, using any type of notoriety I might have to tell people what I'm about and what I'm supporting," he said.
King, a casting assistant in Beverly Hills, said that he wanted to do his part to make sure the war in Iraq and the U.S. forces there are not forgotten or overlooked. Support of the troops has nothing to do with political affiliation or background, he said.
"Whether you support the war in Iraq or not, everyone supports our troops," he said. "Everyone wants our forces to be safe -- for them to be well taken care of overseas so they can come home safe. Even people who don't support the war want that."
The event raised more than $38,000, said Patricia Driscoll, president of the Armed Forces Foundation. A portion of the proceeds will go to the foundation and will be used to provide direct cash assistance to military families affected by the hurricane, she said. The Armed Forces Foundation has already provided $30,000 in assistance to move the veterans from the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, Miss., to Washington.
The Armed Forces Foundation is a member of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program. America Supports You is a nationwide Defense initiative to showcase and communicate America's support of military men and women and their families.