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Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:03

For the Love of Scott

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – She’s been described by many as the “Mother Earth of Caroline Street,” as someone who is always the first to offer a helping hand and the last to ask for anything in return. When Kim Smith, the general manager at Gaffney’s Restaurant and Bar for 25 years, found out her husband, Scott, had been diagnosed with brain cancer, it was in her nature to deal with the challenge on her own. But after everything Smith and her family have done to help the local downtown community, it was only a matter of time before the couple’s friends and family rallied to their support.

When word got out less than two weeks ago that Gaffney’s planned to host a fundraising benefit, “For the Love of Scott: Music Mayhem!” for the Smith family on February 12, hundreds of local musicians, businesses, Gaffney’s regulars, friends, family and more jumped at the opportunity to help their dear friends.

“Everybody wanted to do something,” said John Baker, owner of Gaffney’s. “Kim is like another sister to me. She’s the first one to drive someone home from the bar, the first one to step to the plate to do anything for anybody,” he said.

“And Scott is just the salt of the earth,” said Marianne Barker, owner of Impressions of Saratoga. “He’s another one that will just help whenever. He always wanted to learn and explore and help other people. Just to see them together, there’s such a bond between them, and I think everybody just wanted to help.”

To say “everyone” is almost an understatement at this point. In less than two weeks’ time, over 25 bands and acts (many of whom Kim herself has booked at Gaffney’s over the years) volunteered to play the benefit, over 100 businesses rallied to provide silent auction items and in-kind donations, and hundreds of downtown-regulars and patrons voiced their intentions to attend Sunday’s benefit. T-shirt graphics and printing have all been donated to support the cause; Steve Sullivan from the Olde Bryan Inn is donating all of his proceeds from Chowderfest; Kim Klopstock from Fifty South Restaurant and Bar and Matthew and Chad Tallman from the Bread Basket are donating food; this list goes on and on and on.

“The response has been overwhelming. It’s just – it’s crazy,” said Sharon Bolton, who helped to spearhead and organize the event for Kim and Scott. “People right away were just jumping in and offering their support all over downtown. They all just love this woman and her family and they want to help.”

The seven-hour long benefit, set for Sunday, February 12 from 1 – 8 p.m., will feature bands playing both up and downstairs at Gaffney’s in half-hour time slots. Meanwhile, a slew of silent auction items, including an iPad, New York Yankee and Baltimore Orioles tickets, a mid-week romance package from Longfellows, a mahogany humidor with cigars, two lift tickets to Gore Mountain, a $200 value Tracy Buyce Photo Session, a round of golf at Saratoga National and much more will be up for bid.

Matt McCabe, owner of Saratoga Guitar, is also donating an Eastman 803 CE Jazz Guitar with case, valued at $2,500, for the auction.

“We’re a city, but we’re still a small community. I’ve known Kim for a long time, and she’s an integral part of the fabric of our downtown,” said McCabe. “She’s provided a lot of work opportunities for musicians and the people locally. She’s just a great gal, and I know Scott works really hard, so what goes around comes around. You do what you can, when you can.”

There will be food and drinks available during the event, with a $10 price of admission at the door (which will go directly to the Smith family). Gaffney’s will also be collecting donations for the Smith family, which can be made at the bar or by mail. Checks should be made out to “The Scott Smith Fund,” and can also be donated directly to Adirondack Trust Company at 473 Broadway before, during or after the event.

“This is really a love affair,” said Bolton. “Kim is always the one organizing benefits for everyone else. This time everyone else wanted to help her.”

The goal is to raise $30,000 during the benefit to help offset some of the expenses the Smith family has incurred during their battle with cancer. To show your support for two integral members in Saratoga’s downtown community, stop by Gaffney’s at 16 Caroline St. Sunday, February 12 from 1 – 8 p.m.

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