CHAPEL HILL – Local musicians will play music for 12 straight hours at the tenth annual Marathon Jam this Saturday to help raise money for families of injured military personnel.
Here’s local musician and organizer John Santa.
“The reason I do this charity is because it keeps families together,” says Santa. “All the little kids know is that mom or dad is hurt or mom or dad is away in the hospital. This lets the kids and families stay close. That helps the healing—just having the love and family together. That’s what it’s all about: no politics allowed. It’s just about families and honoring the sacrifice that the families of these soldiers make.”
The Fisher House hosts families of injured soldiers for free who are admitted at VA hospitals. There are 58 Fisher Houses across the United States and Germany. In just over two decades, the charity has assisted more than 180,000 families.
In previous years, much of the proceeds came from friends, family and local organizations sponsoring the musicians for how long they played. But Santa says this year; the marathon jam will not just be limited to music.
“A cool thing we are doing this year is we are opening it up for some artists, says Santa. “We are going to have some people painting. We call the players that play for the whole 12 hours ‘Iron Pickers.’ We may have our first ‘Iron Painter’ this year. We are going to have two painters with easels up, one sketch artist, and I think two photographers coming in and taking pictures and stuff.”
Santa says a solider that just this week returned from duty in the Middle East will also join in the effort.
“There’s a group called the Baghdad Bad Boys and one of the Bad Guys just got in from Kuwait on Tuesday,” says Santa. “He lives in Sumter, South Carolina and is driving up so that he can come up and play with us after being away from his family and friends for a year. That’s how important this thing is to the soldiers and their families.”
For the fifth straight year, the marathon jam will take place at American Legion Post 6 on Legion Road from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event is free and open to the public, but donations are encouraged.