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Red's Steak & BBQ in Richmond hosting blues festival to benefit house fire victims

Red’s Steak & BBQ to host 6th annual show

Albert Witt talks about the fire that destroyed his home in Pistakee Highlands and killed two dogs July 10.
Albert Witt talks about the fire that destroyed his home in Pistakee Highlands and killed two dogs July 10.

Red’s Steak & BBQ will host a blues festival to benefit Albert and Hollyann Witt – the Pistakee Highlands couple who lost their home in a fire last month.

The sixth annual Stateline Blues Fest will start at noon Saturday at 11011 N. Route 12 in Richmond.

Tickets are $5 or five for $20. Some of the proceeds from ticket sales will go toward helping the Witts rebuild their home, Albert Witt said.

Blues enthusiasts can buy tickets by calling Albert Witt at 224-723-7351.

The festival lineup includes the Spontaneous Blues Band, Big Jim Johnson and the Glenn Davis All-Star Blues Review, featuring Maggie Aliotta and Benny “the King Bee.”

The couple’s home was destroyed by a fire last month. The house, in the 5600 block of Meadow Hill Lane, was declared a total loss.

The couple now are living two minutes down the road with their 47-year-old daughter, Kimi Paprocki.

The Witts lost most of their possessions, including their dogs: a 12-year-old Italian greyhound named Sasha and a 13-year-old papillon named Buffy.

About 11 a.m. July 10, Hollyann Witt took her husband to the emergency room at Centegra Hospital – McHenry. At the hospital, Albert Witt got a call that his house was on fire.

The Witts now are working with an insurance company. They plan to rebuild on the same site where their house burned down.

The Witts have launched a GoFundMe page to raise $50,000 to help them through the rebuilding process. Residents can donate at gofundme.com/home-total-loss-help-holly-and-al.

Although the couple lost most of their possessions – including diamond wedding rings, earrings and family heirlooms – a firefighter was able to save some of Albert Witt’s instruments: a Fender Stratocaster guitar and a Fender Jazz Bass. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” Albert Witt said. “I think God wants me to be a rock star.”

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