Statts Fest celebrates life of Savannah man shot, paralyzed in 2008 robbery
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - “Friends of Statts” wrapped up their 12th annual Statts Fest Sunday evening at Starland Yard.
The group has been raising money to pay the medical bills of Jason Statts, a man who was shot and paralyzed from an Ardsley Park robbery back in 2008.
Statts and his longtime friend and bandmate David Williams, were leaving one of their shows downtown when they were both shot in the neck. Statts was paralyzed and Williams lost a vocal cord.
Statts passed away last month so this year’s fundraiser was more of a celebration of life.
His friends and supporters said the event this year is bittersweet with him gone, but they’re getting through it together.
“People don’t really understand how much money it costs once you’re paralyzed and how they sort of keep you from being able to take care of yourself when you’re paralyzed,” said Williams.
Last year they didn’t have the event because of COVID. Sunday, they brought the event back with hopes to continue covering some of Jason’s building medical costs, but it wasn’t the same.
“Because Jason just passed recently so we’re treating this more as a celebration of his life. He asked to not have a funeral, he wanted to have a party instead,” said Williams.
Partying is exactly what they did.
“We’ve been here multiple times,” said kids attending the event.
“It makes your heart full to see so many people come out to support,” said Friends of Statts Organizer Jessica Knapp
“This is what Jason inspired,” said Jason’s Friend Joe Nelson. “I can’t think of anyone else who would inspire people to get together like Jason.”
They ended the fundraiser with a moment of silence along with a memorial.
“It’s easier to deal with as a group with friends than alone,” said Williams.
Friends of Statts also read an open letter from Jason to all his friends, family and supporters.
“For so many years, you guys kept me afloat...perhaps even alive. I appreciate each and every one of you more than I can express in any words. You showed me so much love over the years and there’s absolutely no way I could ever repay you. Thank you so much for all the years of support and unwavering friendship. I love you all.”
Friends of Statts said they were able to sell all of their t-shirts and merchandise, but this is probably their last fundraiser. Next year, they hope to have a concert in Jason’s honor.
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