ALBANY, Ore. — A man who performs in stadiums full of screaming fans around the world strolled into South Albany High School to help the rebuilding efforts after a devastating fire, KPTV reports.
Journey drummer Deen Castronovo grew up in the Salem area, so when he heard about the April 1 fire that destroyed the cafeteria, along with choir, cheer and band equipment, he decided to help out.
Castronovo and his wife presented administrators with a $10,000 check Wednesday.
“We’re so grateful, Deidra and I are so grateful, to be able to give back to you guys, because I know it must be devastating,” Castronovo said. “I know you lost a lot of equipment and there’s a lot of stuff that’s gone now.”
Castronovo said the music program at South Salem High School changed his life, and even kept him in school. He hopes the donation will encourage students to keep chasing their dreams.
“Everybody knows that budget cuts are ripping a lot of school band programs out and sports programs, and to see that happen and know they’ve lost all this, I mean, we had to do something,” he said.
A new mobile cafeteria opened at the school Wednesday, mobile classrooms for the choir and other programs are set to be in place next week and a new building is already in the works.
The man accused of starting the fire, 28-year-old Zachary Burghart, is facing arson charges.
As for Castronovo, he’s just happy to see people in the place he calls home come together in tough times.
“You guys have been through a lot and to rally around each other and to see the community rally around is a beautiful thing,” he said.