Bill Oetken brought together Jay Bochart, Terry McDermott, Fat Moses, Roger McQueen and a roomful of friends to help fight ALS at the Eagles Club Saturday night. Proceeds will be donated to the Iowa chapter of the ALS Foundation.
Bochart of Creston is living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
McDermott lost his mother to the disease in 2002.
When Oetken approached Bochart and offered to do a benefit concert on his behalf, Bochart turned him down. Instead, he said he would be honored to be involved in a concert to benefit the ALS foundation.
“It was not about me,” Bochart said.
Oetken brought in friend and “The Voice” finalist, McDermott, who has done benefits to fight the disease in honor of his mother, Jean McDermott, on both sides of the Atlantic.
“It’s a cause I’m very passionate about,” McDermott said. “It’s become my charity of choice because I’ve seen the disease up close and personal.”
McDermott, originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, Georgi Petrov of Bulgaria and David Shirley of Jackson, Mississippi, who are all currently living and working in New Orleans, made the trip to Creston to play for the benefit concert.
For Petrov and Shirley, this was their first visit to Creston. McDermott has played here several times before.
McDermott promised them three things if they came to Iowa with him: “One, they’re gonna get you smashed; two, they’re incredibly nice people; and three, it’s going to be cold.”
The band mates agreed that all three promises have come true.
“Coming back here is a little bit like coming home,” McDermott said adding that he brought the Scottish weather with him as well.
“I love coming back here. It reminds me a lot of growing up in Scotland. Everybody knows each other’s names,” he said. “It’s a community. I miss that.”
Shirley added, “Every house we passed by with people in the front yard, Bill was honking his horn.”
McDermott sang classic rock songs as well as a few originals, getting the audience involved in numbers such as Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” where he serenaded Oetken and stood on a chair to encourage the audience to sing along.
“I’m very grateful to keep coming back and keep filling up rooms every time we come back,” McDermott said.
Bochart said he enjoyed the concert and getting to meet McDermott, but the highlight of the evening was seeing friends aid the cause.
“People kept coming over to the table to talk to us,” he said. “It was great to see friends and see the support.”
The Eagles Club has been helping raise money for charity since it was founded in 1908. Creston Eagles, 300 E Montgomery St., is open to the public and membership is not required to participate in activities.
Comedian Roger McQueen opened the evening Friday and local band Fat Moses wrapped it up. Fat Moses has opened for McDermott on previous visits and has supported other causes such as last summer’s Friday After Five at Creston Elks Lodge.
Currently, there is no cure for ALS. There are treatments that can help alleviate the effects of muscle weakness and there have been some advancements in finding medications to slow the progression of the disease, but none of them have proven effective in stopping or reversing the disease according to the National Institutes of Health.
The ALS Foundation states its goals as supporting those diagnosed with ALS physically, emotionally and financially.
For more information on ALS visit www.alsfoundation.org. To make a local donation, contact Oetken at 641-782-8464.