ALS benefit concert set for Pumpkin Festival

MILFORD – Jacob Sherman and Phil Butt have been in a band called Duty Free Entertainment since they were in Milford High School. Over the years they’ve had fun putting on hundreds of shows.

Now they are in their 30s and have jobs, houses and families, and their attitudes have matured as well. It’s no longer just the music that’s important. They want their concerts to be more than fun, they want them to do some good in the world.

On the evening of Friday, Oct. 9, the weekend of the Milford Pumpkin Festival, Duty Free Entertainment will give a concert in the Milford VFW Hall to benefit the ALS Association.

ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and it is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Sherman’s uncle was sick for two years and died in 2013. The ALS Association gave his aunt invaluable help in dealing with everything from how to acquire a shower chair or a handicap-accessible vehicle to how to cope with grief.

"She was so lost, she would come home from work and go on the ALS website," Sherman said, during an interview at their workplace, Degree Controls, Inc. in Milford.

The director of the association’s northern New England chapter gave them tips on organizing the benefit and getting people involved.

Donations are handled online and 100 percent goes directly to the association.

"The goal is to walk away and know we did something good," Sherman said.

Oct. 9 happens to be John Lennon’s birthday, coincidentally, and the Sherman and Butt are hiring the Beatles touring band, Studio Two, for the concert and Duty Free will open for them.

The two men are amazed at how fast donations, of cash and gift certificates for a raffle, are coming in. They have raised at least $3,000 so far and are already thinking about the next project.

"We’re so inspired by the number of people participating," Butt said.

"People are really getting behind it" either with donations or volunteering their time.

Duty Free Entertainment is not affiliated with the association, but it has given permission to use its logos.

"It’s been a real challenge – how to make something better than ourselves – something bigger," Sherman said.

Tickets are available at http://dutyfreeentertainment.ticketleap.com/an-evening-with-studio-two-featuring-duty-free.