By Kelly Baughman

The life of a musician is one of excitement, passion, and drive, but as it is with everyone, sometimes the high cost of needs like health insurance is higher than expected. Thanks to Webb Dalton, a former law enforcement officer and longtime musician, that may be a thing of the past for those who take the stage.  Dalton’s Gulf Coast Musicians Medical Fund helps musicians in need with urgent care visits, minor medical office visits, prescription costs, and more.

We all know accidents can happen, but what happens when a musician breaks a bone, pulls a muscle, or gets the flu?  For Dalton, he knows all too well that these minor setbacks can become career ending, or even worse, life threatening.  “I’ve lost several friends to medical conditions that if treated, could have been prevented,” Dalton said.

Armed with a heavy heart and a determined mind, Dalton created the charity to benefit those in our community who otherwise would have to go without.  

Guitar player Jimmy Jefferies said of him and many of his cohorts, “I think we live by the “the show must go on” rule and ignore some of the things we should probably see a doctor about.  I know I’m guilty of thinking it will never happen to me, and a lot of us put off seeing a doctor or seeking medical insurance simply because of the expense.”

Jefferies went on to say that while he realizes the importance of healthcare and insurance, many musicians use what little extra money they have to buy, maintenance, or insure their equipment first, because without it, they have no way to provide for their families.

That’s where Dalton and his Christian based charity steps in.  The Gulf Coast Musicians Medical Fund will help musicians and songwriters in need of minor medical care like initial office visit costs, first time prescription costs, and education on diagnosis or treatment including counseling from Pastors, Counselors or Licensed Professionals.  In addition, the GCMMF will offer personal assistance in locating a Minor Medical Clinic or Urgent Care Center nearest the location of the artist in need.

Serving Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the GCMMF is sponsored by businesses all over the coast, but relies heavily on donations from those who enjoy the music these artists make on a daily basis.  Dalton said that he will be donating 100% of the proceeds from his new Gospel album, ‘Things Left Undone’, to the cause, and encourages others to get involved by either making a donation via the website (there’s a link to a secure PayPal option), purchasing his CD by visiting www.gcmmf.org, or by supporting a sponsored event.

On October 27th and 28th, the GCMMF held its first charity fundraiser event at The Point restaurant in Perdido Key, located at 14340 Innerarity Point Rd., featuring artist like Sugarcane Jane, Jack Robertson, Jason Justice, Elaine Petty, Lea Anne Creswell, and many more.  The two day event charged a $10 admission fee to be donated the charity, and The Point restaurant donated 10% of all sales during the event to the cause.

Dalton said the turnout for the event was better than expected and the response to what the charity is doing for the music community that is so well-loved and respected along the gulf coast has been overwhelming.  Jefferies added, “It is amazing to see how much we mean to this community.  The fact that all of these people came out to support not just what we do for a living, but to support us as human beings with the same basic needs as everyone else is humbling.  We are very blessed to live in such a wonderful place with such wonderful people.”

If you are a musician or songwriter and would like to be considered for assistance from the Gulf Coast Musicians Medical Fund, visit www.gcmf.org.  Applications for musicians will begin in Florida and Alabama in December, and will begin in Mississippi and Louisiana in April 2019.   

For more information about the Gulf Coast Musicians Medical Fund, upcoming events, or to make a donation, call 251-233-3306, visit www.gcmmf.org, or email webbdaltonbama@gmail.com.