Local musicians to hold concert for Stephen Neipp

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Local musicians to hold concert for Stephen NeippA group of local musicians and singers will host a concert to raise funds for Stephen Neipp, 3. Stephen was severely injured when he stepped on a downed power line near his Ridgecrest home in June.

The event will be held at the Historic USO Building on Saturday, Aug. 11. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m.

Admission is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted. Refreshments will be available.

According to Organizer Lynn Riddick, the music will be presented in a relaxed format, and will include selections from modern contemporary music to rock, seasoned with a little gospel music. The group does not yet have an official name. Riddick described it as a gathering of friends, including David Schad, Sam Celestine and John Riddick.

“We want this event to have a relaxed, comfortable feel,” she said.

The group is composed of members from various local churches, who get together once a week to practice just for fun. They have already performed at last year’s Relay for Life and at the Desert Empire Fair during the Wildflower Festival in April.

A company called Thrivent Financial, a not-for-profit organization based in Minneapolis, that offers financial services through Lutheran churches, has offered to match one-third of funds raised, up to a maximum of $500, for this event.

Stephen suffered third-degree burns to both feet and his lower right leg. He spent three and a half weeks in the Grossman Burn Unit in Bakersfield, where he underwent five separate surgeries. During those surgeries, he had several skin grafts, including one that removed skin from his own leg.

Unfortunately, that is only the beginning of Stephen’s medical journey. He will require checkups and additional surgeries every six to 12 months until he stops growing at about age 18. The medical bills are enormous and will continue until he is fully grown. Organizers are asking everyone to join the effort to help relieve this staggering financial burden.

You can also follow Stephen’s progress and recovery, as well as make donations to his PayPal account, at Help Stephen & Family on Facebook.

Story First Published: 2012-08-01