It’s taking a village to start a new village.
In December, ground broke for the Let Us Do Good Village, a 75-acre mortgage-free community of homes for catastrophically injured veterans, surviving widows and children of fallen military and first responders. It’s located in Land O’ Lakes, right off Parkway Boulevard, about a half-mile east of Ehren Cutoff.
Now, the Land O’ Lakes and Pasco County “villages” are coming together to help the organization — the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation — with a free benefit concert.
On May 28, at Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park, there will be the patriotic Let’s Do Good Memorial Day Concert, featuring numerous musical acts, vendors, special guests, activities and more.
“While looking at Heritage Park, the name really felt like it went with Memorial Day,” said Kevin Wright, who, with Chandler Entertainment LLC, organized the event. “Because Memorial Day is a special day to honor those who have given their lives to our country and special effort is made to remember them. … I thought (a benefit concert) was the perfect way to not only show support for these (veterans), but for neighbors to learn more about the neighbors that will soon be here.”
The foundation was overjoyed when Wright approached it wanting to host a benefit concert and event. While the foundation has its own fleet of volunteers, the foundation’s volunteer coordinator in Florida, Christa Vutera, said Wright and his handful of volunteers are handling the whole show.
“We had about 200 volunteers approach us to work this event, but we just don’t need that many,” Vutera said. “We’ll be there, but they’ve graciously taken care of everything.
“When Kevin came to us with the idea for a concert benefiting the village, we were like, ‘Yes, please! Thank you so much for putting this together!’ Because it has been nothing but extraordinary to see how the public has come forward and embraced a mission that benefits people who need (the village). Because it takes a village to put on these events.”
Ground for the village broke back in December, with the first of 110 houses estimated to be completed and given to a veteran by this December.
The foundation provides mortgage-free homes for recipients in its Smart Home, Fallen First Responders and Gold Star Family programs. They are specially designed Smart Homes, which are one-floor homes and built on 100-foot-wide lots. The neighborhood also will feature brand-new amenities, including an indoor basketball court, pool, tennis court, an ADA-accessible gym, a theater, an outdoor playground, a game room and more.
The neighborhood will be the first of its kind in the country.
The foundation is named after Stephen Siller, a firefighter who had finished his shift and was on his way home when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred at the Twin Towers. Siller was one of 343 firefighters who perished that day.
He left behind five young children.
Wright says ever since he heard that story and about the foundation’s Let Us Do Good Village, he just felt the need to help in any way possible.
Especially when he learned the parcel of land on which the neighborhood will be located was donated by the Esther and Harold Mertz Foundation.
“I just thought it would be a great, patriotic way for residents and people around here to express their gratitude and show support for its veterans, who have given so much for this country,” Wright said. “(The foundation which donated the land), they could have sold that and made beaucoup bucks, but they instead gave it to a great cause.
“I just thought (the concert) would give the community a chance to show how much they support these people. That’s what this is really all about,” he said.
Published on May 25, 2022.