Bay Ridge

Raccoon Lodge raises funds with help from 1960s rock legends

Members present $25,000 check to Guild for Exceptional Children

May 16, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Groovy, man!

Music legends from the 1960s helped the Raccoon Lodge raise money for a non-profit agency in Bay Ridge that works to help the developmentally disabled feel fully integrated into society.

On May 13, lodge leaders visited the Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) at its headquarters at 260 68th St. to present Executive Director Paul Cassone with a $25,000 check from a fundraising concert that took place in March starring Jorma Kaukonen, guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane. Bill Kirchen, guitarist for Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, made a guest appearance at the concert, which took place at Notre Dame Hall on 59th Street in Sunset Park.

Kaukonen is known as a blues, folk and rock guitarist, according to his Wikipedia page. He was a founding member of the psychedelic San Francisco band Jefferson Airplane, one of the iconic groups of the 1960s. The group’s most well known hits, “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” were released in 1967. A few years later, Kaukonen founded another band, Hot Tuna.

Kirchen is known for his freewheeling, rockabilly-flavored songs. He was a member of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen from 1967 to the mid-1970s.

The concert was organized by the Raccoon Lodge and a group of music fans in Bay Ridge.

Founded in 1958, the GEC provides services to the developmentally disabled and their families. The range of services includes early education, job training, recreational activities, health care, counseling, and residential housing. The GEC sponsors more than a dozen group homes throughout southern Brooklyn where adult clients can live with dignity, away from an institutional setting.

The GEC currently serves more than 1,000 clients ranging in age from children to senior citizens.

The organization’s goal is to improve the lives of the developmentally disabled and to make sure they are not forgotten by society, according to Cassone. “GEC strives to help individuals build productive lives where their skills, talents, personalities, and abilities can shine,” Cassone wrote in a statement on the agency’s website.

“We aim to educate communities about the many ways in which individuals with developmental disabilities can give back and make the community a better place to live,” Cassone wrote.

For more information, call GEC at 718-833-6633.


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