Elvis tribute back for fundraiser to help Mexican children’s home

World champion Canadian Elvis tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick to headline the If I Can Dream fundraiser in Vernon.

Falkland’s Jody Johnson helps a young resident at the Salvation Army Children’s Home in Mazatlan

Falkland’s Jody Johnson helps a young resident at the Salvation Army Children’s Home in Mazatlan

Behind the glitz and glamour and those white jumpsuits, “The King” Elvis Presley was known for giving back.

Perhaps it was because he grew up poor in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi, but once success hit him hard and fast, Presley was known to donate to numerous charitable organizations.

So it’s fitting that world champion Canadian Elvis tribute artist Adam Fitzpatrick follows in those footsteps.

The 2014 Las Vegas Elvis Grand Champion and Europe’s Tribute to Elvis Grand Champion, Fitzpatrick is about to headline a concert to raise funds for the Salvation Army Children’s Home in Mazatlan, Mexico.

“The home is a safe haven for orphans and children who have been abused and neglected in one of the most visited tourist resort areas in Mexico,” said Jody Johnson, who with her husband, Brian, are organizing the If I Can Dream fundraiser, featuring Fitzpatrick, Oct. 16.

“We go every year to visit the kids. You get connected to them and want to help.”

Retired psychologists now living in Falkland, the Johnsons are among a contingency of Canadian “snowbirds” who visit Mazatlan regularly for their vacations and spend most of their time helping out with the care and maintenance of the children’s home and its occupants.

This is the second year the Johnsons have hosted a concert in Vernon with Fitzpatrick to raise funds for the home.

“We started a maintenance fund for the home last year,” said Jody. “They didn’t have a flush toilet and had to pour water into the toilet. They now have a maintenance man who comes and helps out.”

This year, the Johnsons and Fitzpatrick hope to help a 10-year-old girl named America who lives at the home.

“She has two younger sisters and one older brother and they never got enough food growing up. America always gave her food to her younger sibling. She is on growth hormones as she hasn’t grown to what a healthy 10-year-old should be at,” said Jody.

The Johnsons have already raised some funds for America when they held a concert with Fitzpatrick at their Falkland ranch this summer, and they are hoping to raise more for both America’s medication and the food necessary to feed all the children at the home.

“The home receives no government funding although children are brought into the care of the home by the family services agency,” Jody told The Morning Star last year. “The Salvation Army provides the officers who care for the children, but do not fund the operation of the home. Consequently, money is scarce and basic necessities – milk, toilet tissue, shampoo – are often lacking. One major source of funding are the performances of songs and ethnic dances by the children in hotels, malls, RV parks and wherever an invitation is offered.”

Fitzpatrick will perform his Elvis Evolution show at the fundraiser. It features all eras of Presley’s music from the birth of rock ‘n roll in the ‘50s, his movie starring days in the ‘60s, his ‘68 comeback show, and the ‘70s Vegas years.

If I Can Dream takes place at Trinity United Church, 3300 Alexis Park Dr., Oct. 16. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30, available at the Ticket Seller  in the Vernon Performing Arts Centre. Call 250-549-7469 or order online at www.ticketseller.ca.