Musical Sock Hop Sounds Right Note for Veterans

Source: North County Times

Writer: Leslie Carter


The mission statement of the Foundation for Brain Injured Veterans, a project of the Alara Advocacy Foundation, establishes the deep connection between this charitable group and music. Its special events, such as the third annual “Celebrity Sock Hop” on April 16, thus far have been built around the nostalgia for the music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, and are building interest in therapeutic value of music in the rehabilitation of our wounded troops.

The Sheraton Grand Pacific Resort & Spa in Carlsbad hosted 527 people that night to hear Sha Na Na with Jocko Marcellino, the Shirelles and the San Diego cover band The Legends. David Cassidy picked up a Silver Eagle Patriot Award for his support of the military. “I have seven generations of military service in my mother’s family … You guys are my heroes, and I love you guys,” he said.

FBIV director Captola Wicks helped to open the program with, “I thank each and every one of you for being here tonight, and I thank my family who puts up with me while I’m trying to put this together.”

Ultimately, the foundation wishes to fund a music therapy center for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Rebecca Vaudreuil, a neurologic music therapist who works for the nonprofit Resounding Joy based in North County, appeared with retired Sgt. Ben Tourtelot, a client because of his extensive brain injury and an impressive success story because of music therapy. Tourtelot was injured during a routine training exercise when he crashed head-first to the tarmac while rappelling from a helicopter. He lost half of his forehead and was in a coma for a month.

Vaudreuil has been working in neurologic rehabilitation for two years at the Naval Medical Center and the Naval Submarine Base in San Diego. Service members from all branches who have been diagnosed with TBI, post-traumatic stress disorder and other manifestations of combat-related trauma have been under her care. Tourtelot was first under Vaudreuil’s care, then began collaborating with her. They wrote the piece together that he performed at the Sock Hop: “God’s Gift, A Second Chance.”

Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors Bill Horn and Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood, who read a proclamation from the Oceanside City Council honoring the foundation’s efforts, were among the guests. Dave Mason from the Walrus 105.7 FM was the master of ceremonies. An opportunity drawing featuring a U.S. flag that had been flown over the Capitol was donated by Rep. Mary Bono Mack. Assemblyman Martin Garrick donated his own Padres tickets as a prize. “He and Marie Joyce from Garrick’s office have tried every which way to help me,” Wicks said. The event committee included Joe and Heaven Fedor, Candace and Brandy McGowan, Dan Suljka, Richard and Karen Bell, Vicki Barnes, Samantha Staender, Lilianne Simmons, Myrna Goelker, Jayne Hall and Mary Peterson.

Some of the Sock Hop guests were Leslie Sutter, Arlene Boyer, Darlenska, Danny Czeavski, Michaelle Houlihan, Rosanita Ratcliff and Seth Bove.


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