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Jams for Jimmy keeps late Bridgeville man's memory alive

| Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
THE FAMILY in happy times. From left, Jimmy Slack, sisters Laura Slack and Maureen Shields, father Jim Slack and mother Donna Slack. File photo
Jimmy Slack with his sisters, Maureen Shields, left, and Laura Slack. Submitted photo

Jimmy Slack's family prayed that the 25-year-old Bridgeville man would return home last winter.

They pictured him coming home from the concert he went to see with a friend at Stage AE on Pittsburgh's North Side in December 2011 with a smile on his face.

Following a search by family and strangers, Slack's body was found on Jan. 23, 2012 in the Ohio River, barely a mile from where he went missing.

His death was ruled an accidental drowning.

“He was missing for 46 days. We thought he would come home. We looked, searched and prayed. He just never came home,” said his sister, Laura Slack of Bridgeville.

More than a year later, his family is learning to cope with the loss.

Family members prefer the memories of the Slack that inspired 5,000 Facebook page followers during his search: a humble yet energetic person who touched many people.

“We, as a family, are trying our best to be strong and what better way than to live our life the way Jimmy did,” said Maureen Shields, his sister. “(We are) living each day to the fullest.”

The Slack family will host the Second Annual “Jams for Jimmy” at 12:30 p.m. at the Bridgeville Firehall on Feb. 23.

The event will feature a Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, door prizes, and T-shirts for sale. Concerts are set from 1 p.m. until 11:30 p.m.

Bands will include Dirty and the Mopheads, Coming Up Millhouse, and more.

The first “Jams for Jimmy” event took place on Pittsburgh's South Side.

“The first one was a great way to celebrate life, his life. We knew we had to do this again,” Shields said.

Slack's two sisters emphasize their brother's love of music and his kindness.

“He loved all kinds of music. He loved to dance. And he would talk to a bum on the street for 10 minutes. He loved to hear people's stories,” Shields said.

Tickets are $20 for the all-day “Jams for Jimmy” event.

All proceeds go to the Highmark Caring Place, which offers grief counseling to children and teenagers. Anyone attending has to be 18 or older.

Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or jwidmer@tribweb.com.

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