By Nicole Sims
BETHPAGE, NY – February 16, 2014
54 year-old bar owner, Steve Beery, raises the bar pretty high when it comes to supporting charitable events within his community. But to him, nothing means more than his continued fight to help find a cure to end Cystic Fibrosis.
On Sunday, Feb. 16, Mr. Beery’s Bar in Bethpage, N.Y., hosted its 18 annual Bands Against Cystic Fibrosis fundraiser.
Beery feels that this annual event not only fundraises, but also raises a greater awareness for the disease. “Whatever the issues are that we need to be involved with at the time, we wave the flag and help out,” Beery said. “This is the one we’ve committed to for 18 years.”
Beery says the event’s success takes up to eight weeks of preparations and requires extensive planning. This includes rallying volunteers, checking stage equipment, ensuring there are backups, receiving gift donations from sponsors, clearing out space within the bar, and making the event look the best it can. This year, Beery even had a new stage built and the bar’s logo painted on the wall.
“It’s our showcase day, so we try to make everything look the best it can,” Beery said. “We have a lot of musicians, and we have a lot of people that are very philanthropic. When you bring the two together, it’s very easy to make things work.”
Bobby “Boo Boo Handsome” Chiocchi, who works at Mr. Beery’s as a bouncer, feels Beery’s charitable ways play a large role in the community. “He would give you the shirt off his back,” Chiocci said, “anything you ever needed, you can call him, and he’ll stop whatever he’s doing and do it for you.”
Twenty-five local bands from the Long Island area volunteered to perform at this all-day event that began at noon, and wasn’t scheduled to end until 3 a.m. the next day.
Among the long list of bands that attended, Blue Tattoo, was first to perform. Band manager Myra Grauer says that this is the band’s first year volunteering for the event. “You always have to pay forward in this world,” Grauer said. “Life’s good to people in the band, and we feel like we should give back because were blessed.“
In total, over 500 people total came to the event. Together, they helped raise around $8,100 through $10 ticket donations, purchasing raffle tickets, buying $25 Beery tattoo’s, and bidding on donated items in a Chinese auction. This year’s many donations included a guitar from the Music Emporium and a brand new I Pad mini from AT&T.
So far, Beery has helped raise nearly $100,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundationover the past 18 years. According to the Long Island Cystic Fibrosis Development Director, Vicky Cella, the lifeexpectancy for someone that has the disease has doubled in the past 25 years due to the strides in research.
“There’s a lot of philanthropic people that help raise critical funds for cystic fibrosis, and Steve is one of them,” Cella said, “he’s one in a million because he just feels this is the right thing to do.”
Because of Beery’s continued efforts, Cellabelieves the 30,000 children and adults affected by the disease have a better chance of survival. Beery also strongly feels that the major advances made for Cystic Fibrosis research will lead to a cure for the disease, even within his lifetime.
“There’s all types of diseases that no longer exist, or don’t exist in the American mindset as a danger to us,” Beery said. “One day this disease will be conquered, and we’ll be the guys that were there 20 years trying to get rid of it.”