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Monday, June 16, 2014

Texting while driving prevention program started by widow of John Bachman, Amherst benefit concert planned

AMHERST – A local band known for hosting benefit concerts to help people struggling with loss or other hardship has scheduled one of those gigs for June 21 to honor the life of December accident victim John Bachman.

“Those of you who may not have had the pleasure of knowing him missed out on a remarkable friendship,” said Dave DiGeronimo, a drummer who organized the band
Casual 6 two years ago. ...

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AMHERST – A local band known for hosting benefit concerts to help people struggling with loss or other hardship has scheduled one of those gigs for June 21 to honor the life of December accident victim John Bachman.

“Those of you who may not have had the pleasure of knowing him missed out on a remarkable friendship,” said Dave DiGeronimo, a drummer who organized the band
Casual 6 two years ago.

Casual 6, which is fronted by lead singer and former Telegraph Encore Superstar finalist Lori Gilcreast and includes guitarists and vocalists Dave Cicia and Jeff Coon; keyboard player Ted Shea; guitarist and saxophonist Steve Kantargis; and DiGeronimo on drums, will play from 7:30–11 p.m. at Amherst Country Club.

All proceeds will go to two programs: Milford High School baseball and a new texting awareness program that Bachman’s widow, Marilyn Bachman, has launched to bring awareness to the dangers of texting and driving.

John Bachman died of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car police say was driven by a young Mont Vernon man who was texting while driving.

Travis Hobbs is charged with negligent homicide and conduct after an accident for “failing to pay due attention to the road by using a cellular telephone,” according to court documents.

DiGeronimo, a former Amherst resident who was a
volunteer firefighter when Bachman was chief of the department, said the evening will include raffles and giveaways featuring prizes such as a round of golf for four, cash prizes “and many more.”

The death of Bachman, who was 71, shook the community where he lived for nearly 40 years. A family man first, he was also a successful businessman who initially worked as an engineer at the former Wang Labs and Sanders Associates, and founded several home-based businesses that also succeeded.

He loved sports, especially baseball, leading to his stint as a co-coach of the Milford High baseball team and his years of service as an umpire for youth leagues.

In the weeks and months following her husband’s death, Marilyn Bachman said she began looking online to get ideas to start some kind of anti-texting initiative in the Amherst area.

“There are many campaigns going on all over the country,” she said. “I found a lot of them.”

Eventually, one idea caught her eye: A program that hands out “thumb bands,” smaller versions of the multi-colored wristbands worn by individuals who support a particular cause.

“It’s very interesting,” she said. “They’re the same idea (as the wristbands) but you wear them on your thumb, because you typically use your thumbs when you’re texting.”

Some versions are inscribed with phrases written in “text shorthand,” such as “W82Txt” – “wait to text.” Bachman said she plans to have thumb bands available at the June 21 concert, and hopes to soon have more to distribute throughout town.

She’s also been looking at posters online, and remembers one that carried the message “One text or call could wreck it all.”

“I’m just really hoping we can make people more aware,” she said. “I’m trying to make something good come out of this tragedy.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).