By Ann Reily
---- — As a former combat engineer for the National Guard who was injured by an explosive device in Afghanistan, Donald Jarvis felt a personal connection to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
That connection is what motivated the 26-year-old Newbury resident to organize a benefit concert, with all proceeds going to The One Fund Boston. United We Jam will take place next Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Grog in Newburyport.
On the day of the attacks at the finish line, Jarvis was working a detail with the National Guard in Newton, along the race course.
After news of the blasts hit, Jarvis and the rest of his team were bused down to Boylston Street to help block roads and assist with the cleanup.
“We were there from 4 p.m. Monday until 3 a.m. Tuesday,” he said. “After being there and seeing the impact, I want to return something to them.”
Jarvis enlisted the help of friend and fellow Triton Regional High School graduate Dave Hill, the owner and production manager of Fusion Blue Productions, a Salisbury-based company that specializes in event management.
Hill, a 25-year-old Byfield resident, got to work organizing bands for the concert, and the Grog agreed to donate the room for the show. The lineup includes Soul Robot, a Newburyport-based blues/funk/pop band for which Hill sings and plays the keyboard; Soft Cactus, a Lowell group known for rock, jazz, blues and funk; Deep Keel, a reggae band from Salisbury Beach; and Ben Carroll, a well-known musician and songwriter from the band Ra. Carroll will perform with his Portland, Maine-based side project, The Hollow Glow.
A similar show in November, a tribute to Jarvis after he returned home following months of recovery in a Virginia hospital, raised more than $1,200 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Jarvis and Hill are hoping to raise the same amount — or more — with next week’s concert.
“I’m sure we’ll donate a good chunk of money,” said Hill, whose company is also providing the sound and lighting for this year’s Yankee Homecoming waterfront concerts.
So far, The One Fund has raised nearly $40 million for marathon victims, and payments are scheduled to be made by the end of the month.
But both Hill and Jarvis stress that more help is needed, as medical expenses can add up very quickly.
“That’s not even enough,” Jarvis said of what’s been raised. “Every little penny helps.”
Next Thursday’s concert will also include a number of raffle prizes, including Patriots and Red Sox tickets; gift cards to local restaurants; and the “Honorary Captain Package,” donated by the New England Revolution soccer team, which includes VIP parking at Gillette Stadium, pre-game field access and the opportunity to flip the coin to start the game.
If you go
What: United We Jam, a benefit concert for The One Fund Boston
When: Thursday, June 13, 8 p.m.
Where: The Grog, 13 Middle St., Newburyport
How: Admission is a suggested donation of $5, which includes one raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets will be available to purchase.
More information: 978-308-9186 or www.thegrog.com