Benefit Thrown for Local Family Displaced by Fire a Success

Jennifer Koch and her 8-year-old son Brody lost almost everything when a fire destroyed their Horsham apartment in January

Check out additional photos from this event at our Facebook page.

The Third and Walnut Bar and Grill was the scene as local residents packed the building for a beef and beer to benefit Doylestown resident Jennifer Koch and her son, Brody, who were both displaced by an apartment fire only a few weeks earlier.

Background on the fire

Koch and her son Brody moved into a new apartment Jan. 1.  After a couple weeks of getting settled in, a fire started on the first floor as the landlord was soldering in the bathroom.

The wall caught fire, and the blaze quickly spread to the second floor, engulfing Brody's room and severely damaging the rest of the apartment.

"It took out my son's bedroom, our kitchen, bathroom, and half of my bedroom.  The rest of the apartment suffered smoke damage," said Koch.

Fortunately, outside of Brody's bearded dragon, Dino, there were no injuries.  The family has since moved into a new apartment in Doylestown, and is currently in the process of rebuilding and reacquiring everything from toys to clothing and kitchenware.

"You don't realize how much stuff you have until you have to replace it.  I walked down to the kitchen to get a drink of water when I realized I no longer have any glasses," said Koch.

Jessica Tambourino, Koch's sister, along with Dave Braun, Brody's father, decided to coordinate a benefit to raise funds to help the family recover.  Their efforts paid off in a big way.

Friday night's benefit

Running from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., the benefit featured food, drinks, music, raffles and more.  DJ Mike Robertson of Mixed Media Productions provided a steady flow of music early on, as the hall began to fill with family and friends. 

Shortly after 9 p.m., the band Drop Anchor began its first set, which was completely acoustic.

"Jen specifically asked us to do an acoustic set.  We had previously kicked the idea around, but we had never actually tried it," said Matt Buckley, singer and guitarist for Drop Anchor.

No one would have known, as the band executed the acoustic set to perfection, entertaining the many people in attendance. 

Upon completion of the acoustic set, the band quickly prepared for a second set, which proved to be far more aggressive.  In addition to the many original songs performed, covers of Live, Portishead and Rage Against the Machine were thrown in for good measure.

After the band finished, band members broke down their equipment and reflected on playing at the benefit.

"We're just glad to contribute and help in some way," said guitarist Brad Holstine.

"We've all known Jen for a long time, and it's extra special to play something like this when there is a personal connection," added Kevin Mooney, singer and bassist for Drop Anchor.

Once the band had cleared the stage, DJ Mike Robertson, with the help of Jennifer Koch, began to call the winning names and numbers for the raffle.  The prizes ranged from a body massage to a gift certificate to Texas Roadhouse.

One lucky winner, Jocelyn Perkins, won tickets to a Phillies game, and in an extraordinary act of generosity, immediately donated the tickets to Brody.  Koch said the Phillies were Brody's favorite team, and he had asked if they would be able to go to a game this year. 

Thanks to Perkins, it looks like he'll get to go.

The raffle finished up, and things began to wind down as the benefit came to a close. Braun took the microphone and addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for their support and generosity.

"Thank you for all you have done.  You've helped rebuild for a little boy who lost everything," said Braun.

At final count, 125 people had attended the benefit.

"The people of Lansdale always seem to pull together during times like this," said Braun, when confronted with the total attendance. 

"Everyone stepped up, more than anyone could have anticipated.  Our community is absolutely awesome," he said.

As everyone left, some attendees reflected on the evening.

"I came out for good friends, good drinks, good food and a great cause," said Ken Bond, of Souderton. "You couldn't ask for a better group of people to turn out."

For Jennifer Koch, the benefit held a special place in her heart.

"It's pretty surreal.  I do a lot of charity work myself, but it's truly humbling to be on the receiving end of it," said Koch.

When all was said and done, Koch found herself high on appreciation and low on words.

"I don't even know how to express how grateful I am.  There are no words for it," she said.

If you would like to make a donation online, visit http://www.gimmedesign.com/donate/

For more information on Drop Anchor, visit http://www.dropanchorband.com/

For more information on DJ Mike Robertson, visit http://www.mixedmediaproductions.net/

Check out additional photos from this event at our Facebook page.

Dave braun February 21, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Absolutely a awesome nite!!! The community should give themselves a big pat on the back for this..
Keith Heffintrayer February 21, 2011 at 06:32 PM
It's definitely a worthy cause, and you guys put together a great event.


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