Brooke Hills Park to host hurricane fundraisers

WELLSBURG — Area residents will have an opportunity to support Brooke Hills Park while enjoying a night of music and help people in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey by attending a cookout at the park.

Brooke Hills Playhouse, located at the park, will host the second of two fundraising concerts sponsored by Bill and Jamie Bayless on Sunday. Bill Bayless is a former Brooke County resident and Texas businessman who has been a supporter of the park.

The concert will begin at 1:30 p.m. and feature acoustic guitarist and singer Nate Smith and the Ron Retzer Trio. The trio is comprised of Jennifer Galownia, who has performed for Christian broadcasting networks and at local venues; Rob Wolfe, who has performed in the WWVA Gospel Jamboree and local singing groups; and Retzer, who as musical director and performer for the WWVA Jamboree 1170 band, has performed with major country music recording stars. Retzer also was band director at Follansbee Middle School for a time.

Based in Columbus, Smith has toured with a United Service Organizations jazz ensemble in Europe and played with jazz and rock musicians as well as in the Westerville Symphony Orchestra.

Admission is $10, and tickets can be purchased at the door, pending available seating, by calling or texting the playhouse at (304) 737-3344 or by calling the park at (304) 737-1236 or Paul “Bud” Billiard at (304) 737-1032.

Billiard said there also will be a fundraising cookout for employees of Southwestern Energy affected by Hurricane Harvey from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20 at the park’s Bald Eagle Shelter.

The cost is $10 for the dinner, which will include hamburgers, hot dogs and the usual picnic fare. There also will be a live auction for tickets to sports events, a fishing-themed gift basket and other items.

The cookout is being organized by Southwestern employees for 16 colleagues in the Houston area.

The company has established a fund to which employees may make contributions from their paychecks for employees experiencing hardships.

But in light of the significant need for help in the hurricane-affected area, it was decided to hold a separate fundraiser. The park was chosen for the setting because it is central to the areas where many Southwestern Energy staff are working in operations related to natural gas extraction.

(Scott can be contacted at