Community combines to raise funds for Lovato family

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

The community of Portales is rallying to raise money for the family of a popular singer killed recently in a car wreck.

One day of fundraising at the Sonic Drive-In netted $4,100 for the family of Kacee Lovato. Now a concert is being planned at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Eastern New Mexico University Campus Union Building Ballroom.

Lovato died Jan. 29 in a crash near Dora that remains under investigation.

Musical performer Micah Short and other friends are staging a benefit concert for the Lovato family. The student organization called Rychus Rythum Music is sponsoring the concert.

“They were looking for something to do before Kacee died. They came to me and asked if they could do the concert.” said Kevin Gardels, a Lovato family friend who frequently performed with Kacee.

Police are volunteering their time to act as security and local soundman Mickey Morgan is donating equipment, Gardels said.

Morgan toured with the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan and was in charge of the sound for Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, and now works at the university’s television station, KENW, Gardels said.

Among performers at the concert is local Christian artist Bobby Roybal.

“Bobby Roybal is one the guys who played with Kacee and the other bands on the roster are local Christian musicians,” Gardels said.

“Roybal, myself and the Kacee Lovato Band are going to be playing a few songs,” Gardels said. “We all worked with her and we’re going to do a couple songs each, some of the songs she liked, as a tribute to Kacee.”

Other performers include 1000 Year Reign, 5th Note Heavy, Preordained and Short.

The Sonic Drive-In crew and Rooney Moon Broadcasting kicked off a day-long fundraiser last Thursday, taking up donations for the family.

Former Sonic Drive-In owner Mary Ayers said that it is remarkable how the customers and carhops have been giving money since the time Lovato was killed.

“People came and left $100 and $50 bills…it was just amazing what they did Thursday,” Ayers said. “The people in the town are so giving, it is a heart-warming story.”

Jeff McNaughton, co-owner of Rooney Moon Broadcasting, said there are a few memorial funds set up for Kacee with the main one being at Portales National Bank.

“She had a terrific life and spirit,” McNaughton said. “You could tell she was going to be an up and coming positive force in the community.”