Mark Farner, Formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, will perform for a second year at Vet Fest on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 pm at the Town of Whitehall, near Middletown. Local band Club Phred will be backing Mark Farner.
According to event organizer Brian DiSabatino, CEO of Wilmington-based EDiS Company about 22 veterans and one active-duty military member become victims of suicide, every day. That is 50% higher than their civilian counterparts. In 2015, Delaware experienced 11 veteran suicides according to the VA’s most updated statistics. That is down from 24 in 2014. The 22 in22 initiative began in 2015 as a response to this issue.
Brian DiSabatino’s son, Jacob DiSabatino created 22in22 in 2015, when he was a junior at St. Mark’s High School, as a service project to raise awareness about the fact that 8,000 veterans die each year from suicide. The initiative blossomed and has gained national attention.
The younger DiSabatino, now a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army graduated from the Citadel in South Carolina and is stationed in Anchorage, AK. Actor Gary Sinise and musician Charlie Daniels have been part of the program.
Local figures and institutions joining the cause have included, U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper, the State Legislature, and First Lady Carla Markell.
Proceeds go to unite the veteran and civilian communities and support the non-profit StopSoldierSuicide.org.
Club Phred was formed in 2002 and has performed at several events with Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad, Felix Cavaliere of 1997 Rock and Roll Fame inductees The Rascals and Gary Brooker of Procol Harum. Club Phred has also opened up for, among others, Pete Best, the original drummer of The Beatles, The Marshall Tucker Band, Disney recording artist Sarah Buxton, country artist Katie Armiger, and Delaware native Chuck Wicks, author of ‘Stealing Cinderella’.
Club Phred has has helped various charitable organizations raise more than $5 million since 2004.
The 2022 Vet-Fest event with Club Phred backing Mark Farner helped raise over $150,000 for Stop Soldier Suicide. Fred Dawson, of Club Phred, says “Mark Farner is a true professional and genuinely cares about our Veterans. My band has backed Mark almost thirty times and every time has been a thrill.”