Concert for a cause to provide hope to grieving family

A concert will take place June in support of the Blanco family who lost 12-year-old in a drowning accident in Burlington Township last month

Washington Blanco photographed above. Blanco was a resident of Willingboro.

By KELLY FLYNN, The Sun

On the morning of May 11, Michael McGlinn’s coworker, Amy Danowitz, called him in tears and informed him their coworker, Decontee Blanco, had lost her in son in accident. He said the pair prayed on the phone together and asked God what they could do to help.

McGlinn, marketing director at Harmony Village in Moorestown, said he spent the morning racking his brain for a way to help and came up with the idea of hosting a concert at his place of worship, Hope Community Church in Moorestown. The free concert will take place at Hope Church on Sunday, June 24, at 6:30 p.m. with a special offering being collected in support of Blanco and her daughters.

On May 10, Blanco’s 12-year-old son, Washington, went fishing in Sylvan Lake in Burlington Township and tragically drowned in the lake after falling in. Since the accident, Blanco, a Willingboro resident, has been out of work and is scheduled to return in July. Blanco has worked as a caregiver at Harmony Village in Moorestown since 2016, and McGlinn said they all consider her a part of their family.

McGlinn said when he first came up with the idea for a concert, he reached out to his church about hosting. He said as a faith leader, he’s a firm believer that church members need to act on the words they are taught.

“To me this was about living it and showing compassion not just in words like ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ but in real actions that demonstrate what we’re supposed to believe and in providing comfort and hope,” McGlinn said.

Since approaching Hope, around 30 church members have come on board to help coordinate the event. McGlinn said the response from his network of musician friends has been overwhelmingly positive with all 15 musicians he asked immediately agreeing to participate.

The concert will feature both spiritual and secular music with McGlinn serving as host of the evening. He said while both of Hope’s pastors will be out of town, he’s looking to recruit someone to speak about the subject of hope that evening.

For McGlinn, having Blanco’s support and participation in the concert was the most important component. He said the evening is intended to be a celebration of Washington’s life as well as an opportunity for the community to wrap their arms around Blanco and shower her with love and support.

Blanco said when McGlinn told her about the concert, she was incredibly appreciative. She said not all workplaces feel like family but Harmony Village certainly does. She said her coworkers have embraced and supported her in a way that feels like a true family even if they aren’t biologically related.

“I appreciate it a lot, and it means a lot to me,” Blanco said.

She said her son was an avid basketball player. Washington loved dancing and was in the process of creating his own YouTube channel. She said he is very much missed by her and her daughters.

All proceeds from the evening will go directly to Blanco and her family. In addition to the concert, the Harmony Village team has started a GoFundMe page to fundraise for the Blancos. To date, the page has raised more than $9,000 to help cover funeral costs and other expenses.

While part of the evening is about raising funds, McGlinn said the main goal is to pack the 385-person capacity facility in a show of support. He said the concert is an opportunity for the community to be part of something positive and open their hearts to a good cause.

“My goal and goal is to fill the building to capacity for an amazing night of music, love and support for this family,” McGlinn said.

All are welcome to attend the concert on June 24, and attendees are encouraged to RSVP to McGinn by emailing mmcglinn@care-one.comor by calling (856) 638–1244. To donate to the Blanco family, visit https://www.gofundme.com/wesleywashingtonfund.