Benefit slated for former deputy, performer

Although he has been a part of countless benefit concerts through the years, Phillip Bridges said an upcoming event to raise funds for his dad is personal.

“Preserve the Mike” will be held on Saturday, May 12, beginning at 3 p.m. in the Rotary Building on Woodland Drive in Stuart, Phillip Bridges said.

Proceeds raised from the event will benefit his dad, a former deputy with the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office and part of The Joyful Noise, a local gospel group, the younger Bridges said.

“I want to make this the most fun I can make it,” he said, adding the doors open at 3 p.m., with music throughout the day.

The Poverty Level band will be among the three live musical performers featured, Phillip Bridges said.

There is no cost for admission, but donations are requested. Most of the offerings, including food, also are free.

However, participants in an arm wrestling contest must pay $20 entry fee, Phillip Bridges said.

He explained contests will be held in two divisions – for those who weigh both above and below 175 pounds. Trophies will be awarded to left and right handed winners in both divisions.

Additionally, the winner will receive a fourth of the total of entry fees, he said.

The arm wrestling contest is expected to start around 4 p.m., he added.

The event “is something I never thought I’d have to do,” Phillip Bridges said, and explained that his father is ill, has lesions on his lungs and is unable to continue working his current job as a truck driver.

“The oxygen level in his blood is so low, he can’t go without oxygen. The only thing he can do is sit there. He cannot even attend the benefit,” Phillip Bridges said.

While he does not know the prognosis for his father’s condition, Phillip Bridges said he does not think his dad will be able to return to work any time soon.

“I’m looking forward to helping him the way he’s helped me my entire life,” Phillip Bridges said. “He gave me the gift of life. I’d do anything for my dad.”

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