COLUMBUS – Local musicians will host a benefit for Dave Williams, band member of Thudwinker, on Saturday, March 24, at Eagles Club. The benefit will run from 6 p.m. through midnight and is open to the public.
Williams recently underwent open-heart surgery and is still in the recovery. Even with medical insurance, the burden of paying off medical expenses can be tough, so organizers hope to help the Williams family get back on their feet.
Fellow Thudwinker member Wayne Verba, manager at Columbus Carpet Inc. is one of the benefit organizers.
Verba said Williams, known as "Sugar Bear" has a heart of gold. The two have been band mates for 30 years and friends for longer than that.
“We just really hope to raise a lot of money for him,” Verba said. “The whole goal here is to try to get him some money to live off for a while until he can start working again.”
Williams had to make multiple trips to the hospital and rehabilitation center after his surgery. His wife, Kathy, stood by his side the entire time and took unpaid time off from her job to take care of him.
Williams, a musician for 45 years, is from a family of musicians. His mother was a singer in a church choir and his grandfather was a minister of music.
Over the years, Williams has played in 20 bands, including Nobody’s Business, and traveled around the nation for concerts. He was inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame three times. He was honored because not many local artists receive such an opportunity.
“Music is my way of life,” Williams said.
Williams settled down in Shelby and performs in Columbus. He hopes that his music allows people to relax after a busy day.
“My deal is to help people try to get through life out of a whole bunch of stress, give them something that they can count on,” Williams said.
Aside from concerts, he has performed for weddings, funerals, state fairs and street dances.
Four bands will perform in the benefit: Barrelhouse, Jonesin' for Janey, Jim Casey Trio and Frequency, & Friends. The benefit will also have a silent auction and raffles. A donation jar will be placed at the entrance for guests. Those who can't attend can make a donation at First National Bank to “Dave Williams Beneficiary."
The benefit has been well received and should have a big turnout, Verba said.
“I think he is going to see a lot of people that night that he hasn’t seen for a long time,” Verba said. “I think it will be really fun for him too.”
Williams said he's overwhelmed by the generosity from his family, friends and community members, the people who help make his world “wonderful.”
“Everyone that knows him loves him,” Verba said.