The unexpected death of a Colonie man has rallied friends, and even a local celebrity, to help out the family he left behind in ways they would have never imagined.
On Father's Day, June 20, Donnie Anderson, 36, a local firefighter with the Midway Fire Department, died suddenly after falling down the stairs in his home and hitting his head on the concrete floor.
When friends and co-workers Jake Forst and Rob Sammons, who is the chief of the Midway Fire Department, heard the news of Donnie's death, they organized a fundraiser in his honor entitled Rock to Remember in order to raise money to help out Donnie's wife of 15 years, Caryn, and his two children Bret, 10, and Kierstin, 4.
"He was a big-time musician, he was heavy into the drums," Forst said. "Every time you'd see Donnie he was just playing air drums."
The benefit, which will take place Saturday, Aug. 21, at noon at the Midway Fire Department, will feature performances from local bands such as British Steel, King Friday, Do Not Attempt and Untaymed, which Donnie used to record drums for. For the kids, there will be a magician, face painting, balloon animals, a bouncy bounce and a dunk tank.
Forst said the benefit features everything Donnie would have loved.
"If there was anything he wanted, it was music and beer," he said. "That was his life."
The money will go toward helping out the Anderson family, Forst said. Kiersten suffers from a severe case of scoliosis and must wear a half cast from her waist to her shoulder and be frequently driven out to Rochester Children's Hospital for treatments.
There were also several things with the family's house that needed to be fixed, one of them being a leaking roof, missing shingles and windows broken with only a plastic sheet covering them.