What started as a small community event held at a local park has grown into a citywide event, which benefits one local resident with a big task.
The BBQ in the Park has been held since 2008 to benefit Tom Bolewski, who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, and has set a goal to walk again.
The committee behind the event is made up of all of Bolewski’s neighbors, including Carlos Calvillo, who is the committee chair and lives next door.
“I get excited about helping people and use your God given talents when you see a need,” said Cavillo. “When it’s your neighbor, it made the decision for me.”
The event, which is held on Memorial Day, has helped to raise money for the Bolewski family to make improvements to their house to accommodate Tom’s wheelchair, helped them to buy a van to transport him and pay for his therapy.
The accident left Tom a quadriplegic. Breathing required a respirator, and he was only able to move with the use of a chair.
These restrictions proved only temporar although doctors told the Bolewski’s that Tom would be confined to his chair and respirator for the rest of his life, he has defied the odds and battled back. Recently he was able to stand on his own.
“Tom’s determination is the biggest factor in motivating everyone else,” said Calvillo.
Throughout Tom’s journey to walk again, the BBQ in the Park event and his neighbors have been his main supprot.
“After the accident first happened the money raised went to help with needs like the van and the wheel chair, but now it goes to pay for the therapy that the insurance doesn’t cover,” said Cavillo.
In addition to having the BBQ in the Park, event organizers have joined together with the Santa Clarita Blues Society to bring residents the first SCV Blues Festival.
The day’s festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. with a tribute to our nations veterans, and the singing of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
After that the musicians, including the Laurie Morvan Band, Preston Smith, Five Yard Dog, Artwork Jamal & The Acid Blues and others will play throughout the day.
There will also be a car show, a kids zone with rock climbing walls and jumpers, as well as fire truck rides, and famous Mountainview Chili Dogs.
“The idea is the neighborhood coming together to support one of our own, and at the same time providing a quality event for the entire SCV,” said Calvillo.
The event is free to attend and will be held at Mountain View Park in Saugus.
For more information on the event and to track Tom’s recovery click here.