On June 30, tragedy struck when 19 veteran firefighters known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed while battling the Yarnell Hill wildfire near Prescott, Ariz. The horrible accident left the firefighters’ families in shock, and in need. To help them recover, Dierks Bentley has stepped up to headline the Country Cares Concert.
The concert will take place July 22 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Ariz., and it was organized Phoenix’s KMLE Country 107.9 (a Radio.com station) and northern Arizona’s 92.9 KAFF. Proceeds will go to the United Phoenix Firefighters, which will distribute the funds directly to the 19 families.
“When every dollar comes in, every dollar will go out to those families,” Rich Bauer, captain of the Phoenix Fire Department, told KMLE in an interview this morning (July 9).
And to put this tragic event in perspective, Bauer noted that “this was the biggest tragedy, for firefighters, anywhere in the world since 9/11. And before that it was in the 1940s in Colorado. So that’s how big and devastating this is.”
Bentley, who hails from Arizona, also spoke today with KMLE. “This is a really important thing that I feel strongly about,” he said. “And I’m honored to get a chance to be a part of this concert. We’re going to honor the memory of these guys and start spreading some good will among the community. And try to raise as much money as possible to help out these families and get them on the road toward a better place.”
“All I know how to do is play music,” Bentley added, saying his intent is therefore to just “let music do its thing. It’s all you can do in a situation like this — do what you do the best that you can.”
As for the event, both Bauer and Bentley had strong, positive words about the local communities who will almost certainly come out in droves to support this event. “There’s no other fanbase like country fans who come together [like this] to help out in times of need,” said Bentley.
Bentley also issued a video today talking further about the event and what it means to him. “It’s going to be a very special night,” he promises in the clip.
And if Bentley’s appearance isn’t enough of a draw already, he told KMLE that the event will include some “special guests,” including “fellow singers” from Nashville who were hit hard by the tragedy and want to be involved, but whose names can’t be made public yet.
“We hope this benefit concert gives everyone affected by this tragedy the opportunity to come together and heal,” KMLE Program Director Tim Richards said in a statement. “We want to raise as much money as possible to help the families of these amazing heroes.”