Greenway Festival shines in the fight against Alzheimer’s

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 24, 2024

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Rain or shine, the music played in honor of lives affected by Alzheimer’s last Saturday.

Following its cancellation due to weather, the 2nd annual Greenway Airfield Music Festival returned at 1591 Cherry Grove Rd, with Suffolk residents coming out to enjoy country music, good food, vendors, and raffle prizes while supporting the Alzheimer’s Association’s The Longest Day Campaign. The festival saw performances from Nashville Country Artist Leah Seawright, five-time Country Award Winner David Lee Jones, Country Music Hall of Fame Drummer Mark Herndon of Alabama, as well as local bands Cooltones, Gator Head, the Luke Willette Band and Singer/Songwriter Jaycee Lynne.

Before singing “Memories to Me,” her song about her grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, Lynne talked about the inspiration and what she hopes attendees will take away from the song.

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“It was my way of being able to put into words what it’s like being the family member of somebody who’s losing their memory and just their personality due to the terrible disease,” Lynne said. “I hope that they just take away that even if the person has lost a part of who they are, you will always have that, and while they may not remember it, it will always be a memory to you.”

Alzehimer’s Association The Longest Day Senior Manager Emily Rosenberger says it was “so exciting” to be part of the festival.

“This is the first event of its kind in Southeastern Virginia and [it has] grown quickly to become one of our largest events for the Longest Day that’s directly benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Virginia,” Rosenberger said.

At the time of the interview, Rosenberger says that over $13,000 had already been raised, and more donations were coming in.

On taking part as a vendor, 757 Homes Team Realtor Olivia Laurenn with Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty talked about Greenway Airfield Owner Robert “Bennie” Speight being a client of hers, selling his mother’s home after her death from Alzheimer’s.

“A few months ago, he told me that he was going to be doing this event and it’s very near and dear to my heart. My father also passed away with Alzheimer’s. So, I’ve been honored and privileged and blessed to serve Hampton Roads since 2007 in real estate and one of my biggest seeds is being able to give back to the community who has supported my real estate business for so many years,” Laureen said. “When he said ‘Alzheimer’s,’ I was like ‘Count me in.’”

Speight, fellow Greenway Airfield Owner Charles “CA” Nuckles and Jack Harris of Eagle Rock Promotions also had a chance to talk during the festival. Noting that the concert was also in memory of his mother, Speight thanked everyone for coming out despite the rainy weather.

“Just keep coming out and support the Alzheimer’s Association,” Speight said.

Nuckles and Harris also thanked attendees for coming out. Noting his work with Nashville artists, Harris says the concert’s big names participated with no charge.

“Great bands – I know them all personally, they’re good friends of mine. Love them to death and [they] doing this just for the cause. They’re not making any money on it, they’re just helping us out,” Harris said.

Harris also says they are looking at having the festival become annual, with big names continuing to come out.

Finally, Rosenberger says that if you or someone you know has been impacted by Alzheimer’s, you are not alone.

“This is a beautiful testament of people coming together to support this important cause, advancing research, funding local care and support in our community,” Rosenberger said. “You are not alone and there are people out here to support you through this journey.”

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