The Third Annual Bluegrass, Brew & BBQ event was a success by any measure with over 800 attending this year. The music of the Bugtussle Ramblers and Cooter Creek Bluegrass Band kept toes a tappin’ while guests enjoyed the BBQ buffet and local craft beer from Fort Myers Brewing Co. The biggest winner was Operation Open Arms (OAA), a non-profit that has dedicated itself to the care and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among military personnel and veterans. OAA received 50% of the BBQ, 10% of all checks and 50% of the 50/50 raffle. These funds will help OAA support active duty military and veterans dealing with PTSD. Capt. John “GiddyUp” Bunch began OAA in 2005 and for the first 8 years provided free one-week vacations to 2,502 active duty service members and sponsored 99 free full-service weddings. In 2013, he shifted OAA focus to the care and treatment of PTSD after seeing the toll it was taking on U.S. troops.
Matanzas on the Bay Manager Glen Petrarca said that the event raised over $6,500 and he was still counting mid-week.
“Not only is this a great amount of funds for OOA but the awareness made for this great organization is invaluable.”