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Fundraiser rocks out for boys' dreams

April 10, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

BOONSBORO - Two images dominate the memories of people who knew Jon Barnes - his smile and his skateboard.

Sunday, almost four months after Jon, 17, Mike Abell, 17, and Brian Daigle, 18, died in a house fire, those images welled up in the conversations of their friends, as high school students and music lovers turned out to raise money for a skate park in their honor.

Organizers of Rock for a Reason at Stinger's Sports Pub & Grill said they felt they needed to do something to honor the teenagers.

"Thought it was a horrible thing that happened, so we decided we wanted to help. This was the only way we knew to do that," said Josh Morningstar, a 22-year-old bass player for Vestascension, one of seven bands to play at the benefit concert.

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An eighth band bowed out of the concert, according to fellow organizer Justin Gosnell, 24, of Frederick.

As blaring bass pounded the arena, Jon's mother, Carole Barrett, and other volunteers sold stickers, T-shirts and skateboard decks emblazoned with the words, "bad skateboards." The logo honors the memories of the three teenagers, Barrett said.

"It's for Barnes, Abell and Daigle," Barrett said.

Barrett said she has received a lot of support in her efforts to fulfill her son's dream.

"This was my son, this was their dream," she said.

Tickets for the all-day concert cost $5 in advance and $8 at the door. All proceeds will go to the families to support the skate park, Morningstar said.

Stinger's Sports Pub & Grill donated the venue, and employees manned the doors.

"They've been amazing," Morningstar said.

As a Boonsboro High School freshman, Becky Bainbridge, 15, and her friends said Sunday they all knew Jon, who like Mike was a senior.

Jon had an "electrifying smile," Becky said.

"He'd walk into a room, and he just lit everything up," Becky said.

Barrett said the Tony Hawk Foundation has contacted her to offer its help in forming a skate park. According to the foundation, which helps fund public skate parks, the costs for building a skate park can range from $150,000 to $250,000, she said.

Barrett said she anticipates future fundraisers and already has heard from contractors willing to donate their work.

"I didn't even realize how many people loved these boys," she said.

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