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Dirt Road Sunset bands together to help veterans

| Saturday, July 19, 2014, 6:15 p.m.
Working on their fourth CD are members of the band Dirt Road Sunset, which donated all their proceeds to veterans. From left are band members Sandy “Sandman” Smith, George Estochin and Dave “Mojo” Cline.

Singing from the heart as they reach out a helping hand to others, members of the band Dirt Road Sunset record their songs and compose CDs, then donate the proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The band features the talents of musicians John Bienia, Sandy “Sandman” Smith, Dave “Mojo” Cline and George Estochin, and the four artists bring their wealth of talent and experience to play for their heroes, the veterans.

Started by George Estochin, the band began playing together and recording after his daughter, Army veteran Laura Marie Estochin, 29, was wounded while serving her county in 2009.

“She was on a classified mission so she is not permitted to talk about it and what happened, but she has been medically discharged,” Estochin said of his daughter, who still receives medical care.

Estochin said that after he saw the care that his daughter had received and when he realized how many veterans were out there who needed care and attention, he knew that he needed to do something to help.

“I heard about the Wounded Warriors, and I know that they are a great organization,” Estochin said. “I knew that they could help veterans like Laura and others who are disabled.”

The group meets on a regular basis, jamming and recording every Wednesday when their schedules allow and are working on their fourth CD, with a title yet to be announced.

“Our CDs have a little bit of about everything,” Smith said of the arrangements, “We play country, blues, bluegrass, country pop and gospel. There is at least one gospel song on each of our CDs.”

Most of the songs on the groups CDs are written by the group, and the arrangements all are original, and the group collaborates to bring an interesting mix to each new release.

The first thee CDs from the group are called “All Roads Lead Here,” “Waiting for the Sunrise” and “Waiting on the Sunset.” The CDs sell for $10.

“We enjoy getting together,” Estochin said of the group, adding that all of them have been playing music for many years. “Each of us has been in bands before and we have played together at one point or another over the years. We have a lot of experience between us all.”

Estochin said that he is particularly excited about a new song that he recently wrote called “The Veteran.”

“It's a song that I wrote that is for all veterans of every war,” Estochin said. “I wrote it from the heart.”

The group to date has raised more than $4,600. Estochin said he hopes that they will raise more than $6,000 by the end of summer.

“We are hoping and praying that we can raise that,” Estochin said, adding that the band plans to continue to meet, play and record. “We aren't in this to get rich. We are in this to help the veterans and to help the Wounded Warrior Project. We'll just keep going until we can't go anymore.”

CDs from the band are available at the Penn Made store in Scottdale, Dr. David Lentz's office in Jones Mills, G&D Store in Melcroft, Main Exhibition Gallery in Ligonier and other locations in the area.

For more information or to buy the band's CDs, people can check out the Dirt Road Sunset Facebook page or call 724-455-3369.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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