By Christine Baker, TSB Staff
In 2008, Smiles Charity was founded to help build homes for families in need and wounded veterans and their families. Since then, six homes have been built and they continue to strive towards their motto, “Build a Home, Create a Smile.”
Buchanan Orthodontics, 97.5 KLAK and many more support the charity. Smiles Charity held their infamous concert in Adriatica, on Sunday evening. Megan and Brandon Byers were the recipients of this year’s award and proceeds from the event went to help build the Byers family a home.
“I love the whole purpose of what it’s for/ I mean its raising money to building homes for the military, who greater deserves that than a military member?” Paula Guin said.
Along with donations, T-shirts were on sale for $5, vendors donated a portion of their proceeds to the cause and raffle tickets were sold for $100, but no more than 1,000 were sold to win prizes such as laptops, vacation trips, autographed guitars, a 2013 Cadillac ATS, and many more.
“The raffle is to raise money to build a home for a wounded veteran,” Jenny Stutler said. “I believe most everything was donated and everyone is eligible to win the car even if you’ve already won something else.”
The event continues to grow in popularity because of the cause – supporting Operation Finally Home, and because of the family friendly environment.
“I like this event because it’s very family oriented,” Ashley Kyzar said. “There is no alcohol, you have jump land and concessions for the kids its just a lot of fun.”
Playing the event was “R5” and the Maylee Thomas Band, which opened for country music star Ryan Star.
Photo: Dr. Jennifer Buchanan (R) and her husband pose with Brandon Byers and his family at the Smiles concert. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Santos.
“We’ve lived out here for 15 plus years and this is just a great event that Dr. (Jennifer) Buchanan puts on, and we’re friends with Maylee and George form the Maylee Thomas Band (which performed),” Julie Padilla said. “We bring the kids out and they can be free and run around and have a good time and it’s for a good cause and its very family oriented and its hard to find stuff like that these days.”
The event catered to small children by having bounce houses and trampolines set up in a fenced off area so they could have a good time and stay entertained.
“I sat here and made sure everyone knew how to run the bounce houses and I ran the rock wall,” Keaton Manners said. “This was all free for the kids and was donated for them. There was a lot of kids and I really enjoyed helping them out.”
Not only is it a family oriented event, Smiles Charity concert attracts a large number of students and recent graduates from around the area.
“My friends told me to come,” Khali Yougas said. “I love seeing all of my old high school friends now that we’re back from college, and there’s so many people.”
“We came out because all of our friends are here, the fireworks and we love (singer) Ross Lynch from Austin & Ally,” Maddy Cox said, describing one of the concert’s most anticipated performers.
Many tents were set up with food vendors selling carnival type food, performers paraphernalia and music, jewelry, bounce houses and trampolines for the kids. And Baylor Medical hospital was set up to provide first aid to anyone at the event.
“We’re out here just providing first aid for everybody,” Lauren Peralez said. “If anyone needs band aids or anything else we can help them out. We love being out here listening to the music and being able to help anybody that we can while being a participant in the community.”
Overall, the Smiles Charity concert was extremely successful based on the turnout of people of all ages around the community, the vendors, raffle ticket and tTshirt sales, and everyone’s love and support for Operation Finally Home. Our thoughts go out to the Byers family in hopes that they love their new home and that this helps show our appreciation for Brandon Byers bravely serving our country.