Country star and Arizona native Dierks Bentley raised more than $476,000 for the families of the 19 firefighters who lost their lives in recent Arizona wildfires at his Country Cares Concert.
“This is my hometown, and I feel a huge pull to go back and be there with them and do what I can to help,” said Bentley when the concert was announced. “I’ve had some friends speak up and say they wanted to come help, so we’re going to put together a special night of music, raise some money and hopefully leave these families and this community with some positive memories.”
The Band Perry, Randy Houser and David Nail were also on the bill for the sold-out benefit concert Monday night in Prescott Valley, Ariz.
A photo tribute to the Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters flashed on the video screens as Bentley performed his brand-new song “Here on Earth.” Arizona’s Rural Metro Pipe and Drum Corps also offered a special bagpipe introduction to Bentley’s performance of “Home.”
Several of the firefighters’ family members, as well as the sole surviving firefighter from the Hotshots were in the audience.
The emotional evening also had audience members digging deep in their pockets. When bidding escalated to $25,000 for a Fender Select Telecaster HH, Bentley pulled out a second Fender Select Tele Thinline that had been gifted to him by Fender and declared “sold’ to both bidders.
A third audience member later offered $50,000 if Bentley could provide a Fender USA acoustic guitar autographed by the evening’s performers. With a quick phone call to Fender headquarters in Scottsdale, Bentley secured a Pro Custom Classic Koa Auditorium Cutaway, and raised a total of $100,000 from the three Fender auction items alone.
All money raised from the event will go to the United Phoenix Firefighters Charities who will directly distribute the funds to the families of the fallen firefighters.