Musical concert to benefit local architect
By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Friends of a local philanthropic architect are raising funds to help his family pay for medical bills in a musical concert this weekend.
"Notes of Gratitude" will be held at Saint Helen Catholic Church in Vero Beach on April 27. The concert will benefit longtime Vero Beach residents and Saint Helen's parishioners, John and Carolyn Dean. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and a reception will be held after the conclusion of the concert.
Mr. Dean was recently diagnosed with brain cancer following extensive neurosurgery by specialists at John Hopkins University Hospital. His friends, including a 23-year-old man who considers him an inspiration and a mentor, wanted to help the family defray the cost of the ongoing medical expenses.
When flautist Emilio Rutllant, a former music student under Mrs. Dean, heard about Mr. Dean's diagnosis, he immediately looked for ways to help.
"I thought the best thing I could do was share the talent I have and kind of give back the help they once gave me," Mr. Rutllant said.
He will be collaborating with other Vero Beach artists, Judy Gerter on piano, Angela Moretti on bassoon and Cory High on marimba and percussion.
Mr. Rutllant came to the United States from Chile in 2001 as a young boy. He soon became involved with the Saint Helen's music ministry and met Mrs. Dean, who was working as the acting music director.
It was there he began to learn more and more about music, and he picked up the flute as his instrument of choice.
"Or maybe it picked me," he said.
Not only did Mrs. Dean encourage him in his musical pursuits, but the Deans adopted him and his mother, Clara Rutllant, as surrogate members of the family.
"They have been my family and they really supported me and my music," Mr. Rutllant said.
After graduating from Vero Beach High School, Mr. Rutllant attended and graduated from Stetson University with a degree in music performance, and he is currently pursuing a master's degree at the University of Miami.
Mr. Rutllant is just one example of the many people whose lives have been impacted by Mr. Dean's generous and giving heart, said Jim Kerns, a personal friend.
"John and Carolyn are wonderful people. They extend themselves to the Vero Beach community in so many ways," Mr. Kerns said.
Mr. Dean has donated time and talent as an architect to many community projects, including Habitat for Humanity, the Gifford Youth Activity Center, The Source, Camp Haven and Immanuel Church, a press release said.
Before the temporary homeless housing nonprofit Camp Haven decided to renovate an old motel for housing, their first idea was a tent camp, Mr. Kerns said.
"John designed the place. He went to a similar place in Clearwater and lived there overnight because he wanted to know what it was going to be like in the place he was designing," Mr. Kerns said. "This guy is just so full of the Holy Spirit and of life, you are attracted to him. And giving is contagious, just being around him just makes me want to give too."
The suggested ticket donation to the event is $50 and all funds will go to the Dean family. Checks may be made payable to the "J. Dean Benefit," a press release said.
Advance tickets are available by calling the St. Helen Religious Education Office at (772) 562-5954 or (772) 584-0124. Tickets will also be available at the door.