By Stormy Monday & Pastor Z.
Photos by Pastor Z, Alan Zusman AZ Photo, & Jennifer Santolucito
On Saturday, November 9, 2019, a group of patriots gathered together under the name Operation Restoration to throw a benefit concert for Frank King’s Christmas with Kids and Service Dog Interactions, Inc. It was a beautiful 85 degrees in the Southern California sunshine at New York Myke’s San Diego Harley-Davidson. By 11 am the motorcycles began to roll into the parking lot, and that is always a beautiful sight.
Jennifer Santolucito, the Tattooed Songbird, was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. She opened the festivities appropriately by respectfully singing our National Anthem. She called upon the Full Throttle Band to get the party started. Highly energetic, they played a great set. They even called Todd Rocha, the event’s creator and coordinator, to join them to sing a few songs. It was fantastic!
While this was going on, The Saluting Marine, Timothy Chambers, stood at attention saluting the riders as they arrived. Wearing his distinctive Marines’ dress blues, Tim paid a visit to each and every vendor, band member, and person he could throughout the day. The 2nd band to play was One More For The Road – a Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band. They did a great job, as they tore through a variety of famous Skynyrd tunes. Tim Chambers stood at the center stage saluting while they performed the Lynyrd Skynyrd song ‘Free Bird’ for their finale. As the band left the stage Timothy remained to talk about how he is saluting not just his fellow military, but all patriots.
The third band to play was The Fryed Brothers Band. This legendary band was a real treat to anyone in earshot. Playing their original biker music, the crowd danced, and I didn’t see anyone in a bad mood. The Fryed Brothers are a legendary Northern California band that has been playing to biker crowds since the 80’s. A movie about the band, it’s history, and their antics was released in 2013 called “I Ride”. Randy Twells of Quick Throttle Magazine noted: “The Fryed family has opened their hearts for a long time, and the biker world has shared their spirit; now the story is told in a beautiful way.”
The Fryed Brothers have toured the country, and given performances at Sturgis, the Redwood Run, and many other places including large motorcycle events in Southeast Asia. They were a real treat to watch perform that day. Some of the vendors even joined in the fun, dancing with members of the crowd. As a matter of fact, all day the vendors, guests, and staff intermingled. Two of the vendors, Bad to the Bone Jamaican Jerk Sauce and Kelpy’s Kettle Korn, got along so well they combined their products to make a special blend of spicy jamaican kettle corn for the day. The whole event had a very family-and-friend-like feel to it.
Many of the vendors had some cool products for sale like Keola Life CBD, Salt Flat Coffee Co., Stogie Pipes, etc. You could buy T-shirts, leathers, and jewelry. The beer and wine garden was lined with food trucks so there was no shortage of finding what you might need to enjoy yourself. Heaven forbid you’d need them, but The Shark Squad was even present to talk about motorcycle lawyer needs. Todd and the Operation Restoration Crew did an amazing job with a great event, incredible bands, and an amazing stage and sound company.
Caleb Homer joined Tattooed Songbird on stage to talk about his organization; Service Dog Interactions, Inc. This veteran owned, non-profit organization has a goal to train and educate employees how to properly and socially interact with individuals and their service dogs. Through donations and contributions they are able to support disabled veterans and individuals who have service dogs by providing them with essential care items. These items include harnesses, equipment, dog food, toys, and much more at no cost to the recipients. SDI, Inc. can also assist to help reduce the cost of grooming and veterinary care as well. A service dog can be life-changing. Caleb knows this first hand.
As the sun set behind the hillside temperatures dropped to the mid 70’s and the final band took the stage. The crowd gave a warm welcome to the allstar group: The Midnight Riders – an incredible Tribute to the Allman Brothers. The band consists of great musical talent with each member having over thirty years of experience. It was very exciting to see Sal Rodriguez of WAR as a member of the band. It was a great moment and not something I expected when I arrived. This amazing band did not disappoint. The Midnight Riders concluded their set and Tattooed Songbird took the stage once more to say good night and wish everyone a safe journey home. It was a perfect way to spend the day: helping some beautiful charities, enjoying some awesome music, enjoying one another’s company, and making lots of new friends during Veteran’s Day weekend.