TROY, N.Y.(NEWS10) – Brown’s Revolution Hall in Troy hosting the annual concert, Saturday night.
Dustin was a competitive poker player who traveled the world and his parents Patti Quade and Joe Mele say he had a heart of gold.
“If you knew Dustin you would know he was a giving person. I told the story before when he was a kid in school, the kid that was autistic or the kid who was shy or bullied, he’d put his arm around that kid and bring them in. And because Dustin was such a popular and liked, well like kid, the other kids would go, well if it’s okay with Dustin, it’s okay with me,” said Quade.
At age 28, Dustin died by suicide March 12, 2013. The first memorial kicked off the following year and has since raised over $100,000 to support mental health programs here in the Capital Region. This year the beneficiaries include American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Catholic Charities.
“You think you know where to go and we were lost. I didn’t know about AFSP or any of these other organizations. Even it’s just somebody to talk to let alone the resources that they do have that are out there,” said Quade.
Saturday night’s lineup had band members coming from across the country to show support. Robert Etoll of the Etoll Band taking a moment during rehearsal to tell NEWS10 why he came all the way from Los Angeles to be a part of the benefit.
“I’ve known Joe for over 50 years, and he called me up and he said can you come back and put the band back together and play the show, how do you say no?”
Dustin’s parents explain to NEWS10 just what keeps them going and what makes the concert series a success.
“It took like 3 years and now it’s constant. People[are] just opening up because of the situation that we do every year,” said Mele.
“Dustin’s father being in the music business most his life 40, 50, years, 60, his musician friends have rallied around us, and they’ve stuck with us for the last 10 years,” said Quade.
Dustin’s mom with a word of advice, “You got to look for help. You got to look for support, and we did. And were trying to make it more easily available and we still learned a lot after the fact.”
Mele tells NEWS10 they have already raised over $11,000 this year, before the event even kicked off.