WILTON MANORS, Fla. – The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus is more than a singing organization, they are a second family to one another; a band of brothers.
They’ve been leaning on one another for support, while remembering one of their own.
Chorus director and founder Dr. Gary Keating was emotional while speaking to Local 10 News on Tuesday, reflecting back on that fateful Saturday just ten days ago in Wilton Manors when he lost fellow chorus member James Fahy at the Stonewall Pride Parade.
“I saw people on the ground, that’s what I remember,” said Keating. “Jim was without question one of the most positive, energetic, alive people I’ve known in my lifetime, and I’ve known some pretty amazing people.”
Fahy, along with other chorus members, was about to line up and participate in the parade, when tragedy struck.
“The truck took off, it knocked me down, I saw it go across the street and then when I recovered from that, that’s when I got up and went and saw what had happened with the truck,” Keating said.
Chorus member Fred Johnson, 77, was driving the truck.
Police said the 77-year-old Johnson’s foot slipped and got stuck under the brake, pushing down to accelerate and fatally striking Fahy and injuring another member of the chorus, 67-year-old Jerry Vroegh, who was rushed to the hospital.
“He’s doing ok. Jerry is up and about; his head injury is healing well he said,” said Keating.
Keating founded the chorus back in 1986, and in the time since it has become more than a musical organization. It’s a band of brothers who are hurting, united in their grief, but relying on one another to get them through their darkest hour.
“We’ve leaned on each other, we’ve been that chorus family, brothers in song, there’s great strength in that,” Keating said.
There will be a celebration of life for Fahy on Wednesday, where chorus members will remember his dedication to service and his volunteer work.
The chorus plans to hold a concert in his honor in September.
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