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King-sized fundraiser boosts Parent-Child Center

January 08, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Elvis Presley tribute artist Kevin Booth sings "G.I. Blues" Saturday at the Celebrate the King for at Cause fundraiser at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge on Robinwood Drive.
Photo by Alicia Notarianni

HAGERSTOWN — It’s common knowledge that Elvis Presley knew how to give the ladies a thrill.

But what is perhaps less commonly known, said Elvis tribute artist Kevin Booth, was Presley’s penchant for giving alms of more tangible value.

“Elvis was an incredibly generous person,” said Booth, 40, of Falling Waters, W.Va. “He was known for his charitable acts not only to groups, but to individuals. He’d walk up to somebody on the street and give them cash or buy them a car. If he read about somebody who needed medical help, he’d help them.”

Booth said he wrapped up a 15-year career working with country acts including Brad Paisley and Phil Vassar to “go back to his first love — Elvis.”

His tribute performances would not be complete, Booth said, without paying homage to Presley’s benevolence.

“The best way to keep Elvis’ memory alive is to do things for charity,” he said.

That idea played out Saturday night at Celebrate the King for a Cause at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge on Robinwood Drive. The event was an Elvis 76th Birthday Celebration to benefit the Parent-Child Center.

Booth and promoter/manager Tim McCoy, 51, of Hagerstown, founded Celebrate the King for a Cause last year. Their inaugural event benefited the American Cancer Society. Booth had lost his father and sister to cancer, and McCoy’s wife had succumbed to the disease just six months before the event. Their fundraiser brought in around $8,000 for the organization.

This year, Booth and McCoy became aware of the Parent-Child Center and its efforts to prevent child abuse and promote healthy families. Booth went to visit the center.

“I really believe in what the Parent-Child Center is doing and I was really touched by their work. So it was a no-brainer to do (Celebrate the King for a Cause) for their organization this year,” he said.

The event sold out, with 500 people purchasing tickets for $10 each. In addition to singing and dancing, Booth told stories and shared Elvis trivia. Miss Washington County Mary King and Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Mary Teal Mulligan danced to “Jailhouse Rock,” and attendees bought raffle tickets and played tip jars.

Joe Consoletti, president of the Parent-Child Center board of directors, said he expected the event to raise somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.

Millie Lowman, executive director of the center, said the organization receives no state or federal funding.

“Events like this allow us to keep our doors open,” she said. “We need for this to be successful so we can stay in business.”

Jeff LeHew, 40, of Martinsburg, W.Va., went to the event with friends.

“I’ve been an Elvis fan since I was 5 years old,” LeHew said. “I like how (Booth) shares information and history about Elvis. That’s cool.”

Paula Phillips, 53, of Fairplay, attended with her husband, Richard Phillips, 56, and her mother, Marion Ladygo. Paula Phillips said she was impressed with Booth’s performance.

“This guy is out of this world,” she said. “He’s got the moves.”

“He’s a good singer,” Richard Phillips said.

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