Willie Nelson with Billy Samek and his mother, Tammy, before the ‘Concert for a Cause’ onÂ September 22, 2007, at the Lou LaGrotto’s in Peru, Illinois.
On 9/22/07 Willie Nelson and Family performed a benefit concert in Peru, Illinois, with profits going to help build a new playground for the Peru Catholic School. Children of the school created posters to thank Willie and the band, and they are featured here in this slide show. The concert was sponsored by Lou’s La Grotto Restaurant in Peru, Illinois as part of their “Concerts for a Cause” series. Staff and students from 62 schools in the Illinois Valley wrote to Merry Noonan and her six-member committee that work on Lou’s La Grotto’s “Concerts For a Cause.” While all those schools needed help, one stood out. The letter written by Billy Samek of Peru Catholic School was chosen. Billy wrote a letter about the lack of a playground at his school. “I like art and PE classes. I really like recess but all we do is walk around and kick a ball around on the blacktop,” he wrote. “We usually end up moving because we get in the way of the big kids. If we had a playground, we could share it with the big kids.” That letter touched the hearts of all the committee members. “Each person went behind closed doors with the letters and each one came out with that letter as the winner,” said Noonan. “It was unanimous.”
After the concert, I forwarded a message from Willie Nelson to the students and teachers at Peru, Illinois Catholic School:
“Tell all the kids we had a great time and thanks for all the love from everyone there.” — Willie Nelson
Principal Steve Brockman wrote me back:
“I passed along Willie’s message over the intercom this morning. I heard loud cheering from all the classrooms.”