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Bellaire block party honors veterans, raises money for Harvey relief

BELLAIRE, Texas – One celebrity decided to make his way home to help lift the spirits of his hometown after Hurricane Harvey hit.

Actor Dennis Quaid, known for starring in the movies "Frequency" and the "Parent Trap," came to host the Bellaire Block Party with Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, his band.

"It's very exciting. We love Dennis Quaid, and we’re excited that he’s come to give his support to Bellaire,” said Bellaire resident Holly Koehn. ”Bellaire really needed this. It was very sad for many weeks, and it was great to have the Astros win. That helped and then having this just tops it off.”

Quaid spent the last couple of days in Bellaire, where he lived during his childhood. He visited his old school, Horn Elementary. He also took a trip down memory lane, visiting his childhood home.

“When the hurricane happened, my block, Maple Street was 6 feet under water, and so it became very personal to me,” Quaid said. “This is such a great place to grow up.”

Quaid and the Sharks took the stage at the Bellaire Town Square, hyping up a crowd of hundreds who filled the square’s lawn. The event was completely free for all guests. People were asked to make donations to the Bellaire Brave Fund. The fund was created to help city employees that were personally impacted by Hurricane Harvey.   

"I think it means a lot when you have someone who is one of Bellaire's own coming home and trying to rally people to come together," said Bellaire resident Krissy Gagliardi.

The Galgliardis' home had to be gutted. Meanwhile, they had been living on the second floor of their home. This concert was a way to help take their mind off of what happened.

“(Quaid) came to Horn Elementary yesterday, and hung out with the fifth graders,” said David Gagliardi. “Today he came here and it says a lot about who he is.”

Their son, 10-year-old Andrew, was one of the students. His goal at this concert was to get his shirt signed by Quaid. It happened.

“What’s your name?” said Quaid to Andrew.

Soon enough Quaid was signing Andrew’s red shirt. The message read, “Andrew, you are Bellaire Brave! -- Dennis Quaid.”

For Andrew, it was a dream come true. He said he is not washing it.

“It’s great to have it signed,” said Andrew. “It will be on a display someone in  my room soon, I hope.”

Bellaire’s mayor presented the audience and Quaid a check of $85,000, which will help Quaid pay for the Bellaire Brave Fund.

“This check represents everyone here who’ve donated to this cause. Dennis, your being here has helped with the fundraising -- thank you so very much, ” the mayor said. “Dennis called us. This was his idea.”

“I hope by the end of the night, that number will be $100,000,” Quaid said.

Quaid met with many adoring fans, some of whom had gone to school with him. 

"It's a little emotional and a little nostalgic, but it's a great day for the city of Bellaire," said Doug Harris, a former junior high friend of Quaid’s. “We were pals and friends and lost touch but happy to reunite today. He’s a great guy, a good friend, a good musician, a performer since as long as I can remember -- always looking for a stage and audience, but in a good way; a real talent, a genuinely nice guy.”

“I have a picture of Dennis Quaid with his Horn 1966 class -- Horn Elementary,” said Martha Raskin, an elementary classmate of Quaid.

Third row, pictured fifth from the left, is Quaid in the sixth grade, she said.

Quaid said he was inspired by the community organizing and resilience he saw on his tour.

"Seeing people’s yards and to see the houses -- there’s so much damage here -- but this community  is definitely going to come back,” said Quaid. 

He said it is his mission to give back what he can.

“We would really make a difference if we go back to our own neighborhoods," said Quaid.