In the News
Hollywood Helpsby Valerie Milano, Hollywood Today on 5/19/2011
Hollywood, CA (Hollywood Today) On April 27th of this year, Alabama experienced the deadliest tornado day since 1925. To date there are 238 who lost their lives, 446 missing and over 650 displaced families.
Philip Nelson of NewTek got involved with this project that was quickly put together by word of mouth. “I was shocked to see photographs from a friend in Huntsville, Ashley Howard, of Paul Mitchell School Huntsville, showing the devastation of small towns around Alabama more than a week after the storm. It was like the damage had happened yesterday. Once the media shifted their focus to Bin Laden and the flooding along the Mississippi river, I knew these people would need help bringing their problems back to the attention of people around the country.”
Nelson put his TriCaster, a portable, live production system, to good use. Through friends and word of mouth they were able to create 4 hour comedy and music webcast featuring stand up comedians Adam Carolla, Andy Dick, Larry Miller, Kevin Pollak; live music from Gorilla Blood and taped performances from of Yes, and other celebs, all of whom donated their time and talent in an effort to raise money and awareness of the many needs in Alabama. Tracii Guns didn’t make it for the show but was replaced with Peter Himmelman.
Ashley Howard is the Director of Paul Mitchell the School Huntsville. Among her responsibilities is fundraising for school activities benefits charities around the world. She told us that “My children were in school and sent home with a friend and called me from a closet screaming and crying that a tornado was coming which went on for the next 9 hours. I was in CA for work with Paul Mitchell Schools at an event to present the charities our students work hard to support when this happened. I did not realize what the day would bring. Upon returning home, I took my students and staff out in our community to help those in need and realized the vastness of the devastation and new awareness needed to be raised, so I contacted Philip. I feel blessed to be able to help others. I teach my students that in the midst of tragedy, the lessons to be learned are as vast as the devastation, and unlearned lessons are yet another tragedy. So say yes, and help others!”
Having it hit so close to home was her motivation to organize the event. “it’s not going to be fixed in a week, a month, or even six months. We are a nation of people helping people. In just over a week, we were able to bring together this wonderful event because people stepped up and said yes.” she told Hollywood Today, so teaming up with the American Red Cross and Nelson, the event logged over 200,000 unique viewers, and though it started a little late and Tom Green was also a no-show, the evening was filled with laughs and generous spirits in the hope of hitting their goal.
Donations are still being accepted at http://american.redcross.org/webcast