Smartmouth in VB holding VB Strong benefit concert for victims’ families

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Smartmouth Brewing on 32nd St. is throwing an event to remember the 12 victims in Building 2. Proceeds from the beer, the food and the free bands will go toward the victims’ families.

“It was actually my son’s graduation at Norfolk Academy, and we all walked out of graduation and our phone started blowing up,” says Smartmouth Brewing’s Chris Neikirk. That’s how she first learned of the May 31 tragedy in Building 2.  

Hampton Roads was no longer innocent of mass shootings,

“The reaction, we were so happy, and then the reality this happened 20 minutes away from where we were.”

That moment would quickly lead to a call and plan of action. “As soon as it happened, we are very involved in the community, and immediately my guys saying ‘what are we going to do?’ That’s when it was decided to get food trucks and donate proceeds from the event. We have four different food trucks and two bands playing for free.”

The two bands are local bands: “Breaking Brad” and Ray and Martin.

“Just one of those things, you never think it is going to happen here, especially growing up here in this tight community,” said Breaking Brad frontman Brad Foster. Virginia Beach is an amazing place. It shows you tragedy can strike anywhere.”

Thursday night beginning at 5, the Food Truck Rodeo including Capt. Crabby, The Flying Pig, Pittsburgh’s Best, Smoked Biscuit and Rita’s Italian Ice will donate 25% of sales to the families.

Ironically as the horror unfolded on May 31, it reinforced one of the messages during this graduation period: that these students were born in 2001. 9-11 and terrorism have been with them their entire lives, “So everything that has happened in their 19-20 years. It is different than when you and I were 0-18 years of age,” Neikirk said. 

Foster adds, “The outpouring of love and support for the victims and their families, I think it is making here a greater place to live.” Foster says it is even more than that. “We must never forget and we need to love just a little bit more, and stay close as a community. There are always things that will divide us, but we need to focus on the things that will keep us together and keep us strong.”

Smartmouth Brewing’s Pilot House is at 313 32nd St. For more information, click here.

To donate to the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund, click here.

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