VERO BEACH — After the horrific attack that took 49 lives at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June, a group of local citizens felt compelled to respond with a gesture of concern and caring.
Barry Shapiro, former owner of Lighthouse Art Gallery reached out to a number of community leaders for the purpose of aiding those affected by the shootings.
“I knew that people like Lee Olsen of Waldo’s and Karen Franke of Treasure and Space Coast Radio had put together the heavily attended vigil held at Riverside Park, just days after the tragedy. I figured they would be a dynamic duo to get things done. Lee and Karen, in turn, reached out to others to help create an evening of healing that would raise funds. Our collective vision is a positive event for the Pulse employees and a step forward for us all,” Shapiro said.
In addition to monthly educational programs geared toward the LBGT community, Pulse was well known for their themed performances, each night. In keeping with this tradition, the event committee has conceptualized the “One Pulse Extravaganza,” to benefit the One Pulse Fund. It will take place Aug. 6, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Heritage Center in Downtown Vero Beach. Tickets are $20 and will include live music from Collins and Company, DJ music, a cash bar, a “you pick it” raffle and more. Featured guests will be 10 of the Pulse entertainers along with a number of the Pulse servers.
The local culinary community has pulled together to make the food for the event particularly fabulous. Many area restaurants including Ocean Grill, Chive, The Patio Seafood Tavern and Waldo’s are contributing food for the festivities.
Further, generous donations from community members like Rick and Linda Nory of the Kilted Mermaid and Janie Hoover are covering the costs of the Heritage Center rental.
“It is not just about those injured or wounded. It is also about the employees who have been without work since the incident. When you work in the restaurant/bar industry, you live paycheck to paycheck and these folks have been without for over a month. That on top of the trauma of losing friends and family, we don’t want them to be forgotten about. We’re delighted to welcome many of them to Vero Beach for this very special night and help them on the road to healing both personally and professionally,” Olsen said.
Pulse, a gay bar and nightclub in Orlando was founded in 2004 by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler. On June 12, 2016, the club gained international attention as it was the scene of the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history. It was also the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured at Pulse.
For more information on the event go to facebook.com and search “One Pulse Extravaganza” or call Lee Olsen (772) 713-5520, or Barry Shapiro at (917) 225-1231. The Heritage Center is located at 2140 14th Ave., Vero Beach.