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Recording artist holds rescue benefit concert

LINCOLN, N.H. - American Indian recording artist Howard Lyons demonstrated he is one of the genuinely decent people in the entertainment industry when he held a benefit concert on Oct. 26 at the Beacon Resort Lincoln in support of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Search and Rescue Department.

The concert raised several hundred dollars for the Rescue Department according to benefit organizers who said they considered the benefit to be a success even with attendance hampered by dense fog.

The benefit was put together in a week following the disappearance of 10-year-old Patrick McCarthy from his family's condominium in New Hampshire's White Mountains on Oct. 13. The Search and Rescue Department was joined by the state police, members of the FBI and more than 500 volunteers who braved foul weather and dense woods in a heroic effort to find McCarthy. Sadly, their efforts were in vain as the boy was found on Oct. 17 having succumbed to exposure.

Howard Lyons' wife and manager Nancy Lyons told Indian Country Today several skiers, hikers and climbers become lost every year in the heavily forested region of New Hampshire where McCarthy disappeared and search and rescue efforts are not a fiscal priority in the "tax-free" state.

"They have a very low budget," said Nancy who added there was another emergency involving the cash-strapped Search and Rescue Department, a dramatic river rescue, in the area immediately following the search for McCarthy.

Search and Rescue spokesman Maj. Timothy Acerno confirmed the entire departmental and not just rescue operations are not supported by the state general fund and are paid for by money raised from hunting, fishing, boating and recreational vehicle permits. He said the estimated 200 to 300 search and rescues the department deals with each year stretch its ability to meet the need. Acerno said the weather in New Hampshire makes searches even more difficult.

"We never gave up hope that we would find Patrick alive despite the freezing rain," said Acerno. "Even when the officers were told they could sleep in, they were all there at the crack of dawn. We had to find Patrick."

Nancy added the concert was free of admission and all money collected was donated to the Search and Rescue Department. Rising star Jana was originally scheduled to appear at the benefit, but was unable to perform. Howard was joined at the benefit by the New Hampshire-based Shaw Brothers who have performed live with Bob Hope, John Denver and the Kingston Trio.

Howard has visited more than 1,000 schools within the past two years as part of an ongoing effort to educate students across the country on American Indian culture and history. The recipient of numerous awards and honors for his music, a blend of traditional American Indian themes and styles with a folk influence, Lyons remains inspired by his Haudenoshaunee heritage as he looks to the Seventh Generation. His efforts to support the valuable work of the New Hampshire Fish and Wildlife Search and Rescue Department pays great honor to himself, his family and all of Indian country.