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HomeAt Home & BeyondVeterans’ HEAT Factory—Fun for a Cause

Veterans’ HEAT Factory—Fun for a Cause

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Veterans’ HEAT Factory (VHF) is a Hernando County non-profit organization that works with Veterans and First Responders who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. Founded in 2017 by local businessman, Gus Guadagnino, VHF has helped countless numbers of these heroes and their families deal with some of the effects of this invisible wound—depression, domestic abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, joblessness, homelessness, and other challenges. Veterans’ HEAT Factory has even brought some people back from the brink of suicide. All this with no paid employees.

Like many non-profit organizations, money is always an issue. VHF receives no government funding. With the exception of a few small grants, as well as donations from individuals and businesses, the organization relies on fundraising events.

One such event will take place on Monday, July 8th. Chapters Network, a philanthropic organization founded by Steve Vaccaro, a Long Island psychologist, is putting together an evening of entertainment that will include the Chapters Network All-Star Band, a Peter Frampton tribute singer, local talent and surprise guests. It promises to be a fun-filled evening. And the price is right! Tickets are just $10 in advance and $15 at the door, pending availability.

Vaccaro founded his organization fifteen years ago in order to “have a community-based program to empower people who have gone though challenges.”

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He formed the Chapters Network All-Star Band last year. It’s made up of professional musicians who volunteer their time, as well as young talented musicians just getting started. Many of these people have overcome challenges in their lives.

One of the local entertainers will be Santiago Pinckney, a multi-talented Springstead High School student. Pinckney and Vaccaro met last year at another Heat Factory fundraiser when Pinckney sang the National Anthem at a the opening of the show.

“We created a friendship and a bond. Since I want to become a performing artist on Broadway after completing my schooling, having this opportunity is serendipitous,” Pinckney remarks
At the July 8th gala, Pinckney will, not only be singing a number of songs, he will also be conducting a choir from Antioch Fellowship Baptist, the church he attends. The group has been practicing together for nine weeks. They’ll be singing a collection of inspirational songs.

Gus and Steve met eight years ago when he was putting on a benefit for veterans in Tampa. Besides both being New Yorkers, they had something else in common—a passion for helping people.

“Steve has been such a blessing to us. His connections all over the country has raised awareness for our cause. Our goal is to fill the 500-seat venue. With more funds we will be able to do so much more for our veterans and first responders. I believe that nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. We’re asking the whole community to join in this mission,” Guadagnino states.

Besides individuals purchasing tickets for this family-friendly event, the HEAT factory is suggesting that business owners purchase tickets for their employees to show appreciation and treat them to a fun night out. Businesses can also donate items or gift cards for the Silent Auction that will take place before the show and during intermission.

The show will take place at F.W. Springstead High School Theater – 3300 Mariner Blvd. at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets log on to: www.veteransheatfactory.com or call 352-251-7015.

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