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Matanzas on the Bay’s Bluegrass, Brew and BBQ raises more than $7,000 for Operation Open Arms

By Staff | Jun 21, 2017

From left, Staff Sgt. Shannon Tasker-Thomas, Capt. John Bunch and Noelle Casagrande-Montgomery enjoy the 2017 Bluegrass, Brew & BBQ at Matanzas on the Bay on Fort Myers Beach. PHOTO PROVIDED

Matanzas on the Bay on Fort Myers Beach hosted its fourth annual Bluegrass, Brew and BBQ on May 27, raising more than $7,000 to benefit Operation Open Arms, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in military personnel.

The event brought nearly 730 guests out to enjoy live music from the Bugtussle Ramblers and the Cooter Creek Bluegrass Band, craft beer from Fort Myers Brewing Company, a 50/50 raffle and a barbecue plate of ribs, smoked pork shanks, potato salad, corn on the cob, and more.

“Our fourth annual Bluegrass, Brew and BBQ event was a great success, and we thoroughly enjoyed another year of food and fun in support of Operation Open Arms,” said Tony Coppolino, general manager of Matanzas on the Bay. “Operation Open Arms truly makes a difference within our community through its compassion and steadfast commitment to our troops returning from deployment. We are honored to support the mission of this organization, and we are grateful to the hundreds of guests who came out to the event to show their support as well.”

The Memorial Day weekend event is dedicated to supporting the mission of Operation Open Arms, a 501(c)(3) charity and nationally acclaimed military outreach program that provides active, foreign duty U.S. service personnel every possible act of kindness through unique outreach services and PTSD mental health care within 30 days of returning home from deployment.

“From general manager to dishwasher, Team Matanzas on the Bay demonstrated the same type of teamwork we all witness when a Super Bowl winner is crowned,” said Capt. John “GiddyUp” Bunch, who is the founder of Operation Open Arms, and a resident of St. James City on Pine Island. “For 12 years, teamwork has been the reason for the success of Operation Open Arms. Every single Matanzas employee who worked this Memorial Day weekend event for U.S. troops returning from combat is a selfless hero. What else do you call someone who does more for others than they do for themselves?”

For the past 12 years, Operation Open arms has continued to make a difference in the lives of more than 3,500 U.S. troops returning from combat or foreign duty stations, totaling $13.8 million in direct tangible benefits. For more information about Operation Open Arms and its efforts, visit www.OperationOpenArms.org.

For more information about Matanzas on the Bay, call 239-463-3838 or visit www.MatanzasontheBay.com.