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Smith: Sonoma County veterans, fire victims to be honored this week

Sadie Jones, 5, of Santa Rosa braved the rain and joined the large crowd for the Petaluma Veteran's Day Parade on Friday, November 11, 2011.

CHRIS SMITH,

You military veterans, and all of you civilians grateful to them, probably know you’re invited to a spirited lunch in Santa Rosa on Thursday and to a great, breakfast in Healdsburg on Saturday. So consider this a reminder.

The annual Tribute to Our Veterans luncheon hosted by local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs starts at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Santa Rosa’s Veterans Memorial Building. It’s free for veterans, just $15 for everybody else.

The keynote speaker is retired Army major general and Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gary Medvigy.

Among the area’s other salutes to veterans is the breakfast by the Healdsburg Rotary Club that starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the annex to Villa Chanticleer.

Vets will be guests, others will be asked to pay 10 bucks. The speaker is Christina Olds, daughter and biographer of late fighter-pilot ace Robin Olds.

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USE A LAUGH? Aware that many of us could about now, and that the fires have created greater need than we can fathom, west Sonoma County community radio station KOWS and several partners have pulled together an evening of comedy, music and giving that looks to be a blast.

The benefit concert kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Sebastopol. On stage will be Sandy and Richard Riccardi, Teresa Tudury, Roy Zimmerman and Clowns on a Stick.

Tickets will be sold at the door and all proceeds will go to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Also, the church will gladly accept donations to the Interfaith Food Pantry.

First responders and anyone who lost a home will be admitted for free.

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WHISKEY AND BBQ are key to a musical benefit in Healdsburg on Saturday afternoon that will aid employees of Sutter Health who struggle in the aftermath of the fires.

It’s called #SonomaStrong as #Whiskey and happens from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Alley 6 Distillery on Grove Street. Tickets are at Eventbrite.

Alley 6 and co-sponsor 101 Home Loan Team have arranged for live music, Bear Republic beer, food and inventive beverages by Duke’s Spirited Cocktails mixologists.

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MONTGOMERY VILLAGE absolutely rocked on Sunday.

The crowd that turned out for the day’s benefit concert astounded shopping center owner David Codding, a man eager to help rebuild the town largely built by his late father, Hugh.

“I’ve never seen so many people here at the village,” he said.

Pete Stringfellow, creator of the Santa Rosa song, performed along with Pride & Joy, Gator Nation and the Poyntlyss Sistars. First responders feasted on complimentary barbecue.

A hurting but resolved community came together, in a big and beautiful way — and raised a great deal of money for victims of the fires.

The Sonoma Strong concert brought in about $100,000 in donations to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Codding will match that, dollar for dollar. And he earlier contributed to the relief effort another $100,000.

Sunday’s benefit concert and demonstration of community caring also raised some serious money for the Redwood Empire Food Bank: a $10,000 check from Codding and also the proceeds from the historic event’s free-flowing beverage booths.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.