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Concerts to aid blind survivor of shootings

The Suncoast Singers will stage fundraising performances for James Dolan, who was shot during a gunman's rampage at RadioShack.

Published February 16, 2005

It has been three months since gunfire rang out in a St. Petersburg RadioShack store.

Justin Cudar, 25, walked into the store and opened fire on two employees and a customer before turning the gun on himself.

James Dolan, 30, of Seminole, was the only survivor. Shot in the temple, he is now facing the rest of his life without sight.

"He is doing incredibly well," said his mother, Cathey Dolan, 62, of Seminole. "He is a person of strong faith and feels like he was spared for a reason." She said he was recuperating from a recent surgery and not ready to make a public statement.

After the tragedy, Dolan received an abundance of well wishes, prayers, Christmas gifts and contributions from friends and strangers. He was "overwhelmed with kindness from the community," Cathey Dolan said.

The kindness is still flowing. Cathey Dolan's 25-year-old choral group, the Suncoast Singers, is joining in with two benefit concerts to help her son and his family. The first will be Friday at George Young Memorial United Methodist Church in Palm Harbor. Saturday's concert will be at Faith Presbyterian Church in Seminole. Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. A tax-deductible donation of $10 is requested, with all proceeds going to the James Dolan Fund.

Cathey Dolan, a first soprano, was one of the original members of the Suncoast Singers, which rehearses at Faith Presbyterian Church and performs Broadway hits and nostalgic American tunes. After a 10-year absence, she returned to the group this fall.

It was on the night of their first concert, Nov. 18, that she returned home to hear the news that her son had been shot.

Twenty years ago, the young Jamie Dolan performed with his mother, his brother Tim, and sister Kathleen, in the choral group's production of The Music Man .

Tom Chmielewski, a spokesman for the singers, said the group felt benefit concerts would be the best way to assist one of their own.

"When something happens to your extended family, you want to do all you can for them," he said. "Jamie was one of our children before, and now he needs our help."

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 01:26:21]

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