REO Speedwagon has donated all the proceeds from its Ridin’ the Storm Out-Floods of 2008 Relief Concert to Polk County in Iowa. Little River Band was the special guest at the July 16 concert at Prairie Meadows. Tickets were priced at $20, raising $275,000 for the relief effort.
Polk County, in turn, pledged to match the total funds collected; bringing the flood relief funding to date up to $550,000 between Prairie Meadows and Polk County.
“I was watching CNN from my London hotel room when I saw the horrific video of a house being torn from its foundation and washed away due the flooding in the Midwest,” REO Speedwagon’s lead singer said in a statement. “I quickly realized that these were our people whose lives were being uprooted, and they needed our help. I feel a deep loyalty and a responsibility to do whatever we can to help our Midwestern brothers and sisters in their time of extreme need. We can’t be there filling sandbags, but we can rock. Hopefully, with this concert we can raise money, as well as morale, for those in need.”
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie presented REO’s Kevin Cronin with the Key to the City just prior to the band taking the stage. “The band has been very supportive of disaster relief not just here in Des Moines, but across the country,” added Cownie. “The fact that REO’s roots are right here in the Midwest has given Kevin and the band firsthand experience of the impact that severe weather can have on people’s lives.”
Prior to the concert, Cronin took a helicopter tour of Des Moines’ Birdland neighborhood, which was devastated by floodwaters after a levee breach. Dozens of homes and businesses were impacted including North High School.
Cronin grew up in Chicago and the band’s roots are in Champaign, IL. In April, REO Speedwagon assisted the rebuilding effort in Greensburg, KS after an EF5 tornado, and just last fall Cronin donated concert tickets to victims of the tornado that struck near Lynnville and Sully, IA.