Vail-Leavitt Music Hall concert to help recovering addicts

Three bands will take the stage at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall Saturday to raise money for an organization that helps recovering drug addicts get clean. 

The Betty Ann Hartmann Foundation is a nonprofit organization created in 2018 to fund grants for recovering addicts who don’t have the money to get into a sober house, according to Bob Hartmann Jr. of Riverhead, who lived in sober houses himself while struggling with addictions for years.

The foundation aims to help addicts who fall short of their financial obligations in early recovery with single or multiple grants, according to its web site.

Its board of directors is led by Elbow Room restaurants owner Cliff Saunders III, Gary Sapiane of WLNG radio, Melissa Elkins of Cornell Cooperative Extension and Mr. Hartmann, who is also the brother of Betty Ann Hartmann, who died of an overdose in 1999.

“My sister was a tough farm girl,” Mr. Hartmann said.”She worked on the family farm. She was a country girl and she raised a lot of animals.”

After she got divorced, her second husband “kind of introduced her to drugs,” he said. She died at the age of 25, and her husband died as well, he said. Mr. Hartmann said he couldn’t help them because he was hooked on drugs himself at the time.

“I worked on the farm, I worked hard, and I played hard,” Mr. Hartmann said. “Pot was cool, but then that got boring and I tried cocaine, and then more cocaine, and then more and more, and then I found crack. And then I lost all direction and I walked away from the farm, at 30 years old.”

He continued to use drugs until he was 43, when he finally got clean, he said. He was in several rehab programs before he found one that worked.

“I’m 60 now,” he said.

Mr. Hartmann said living in a sober house gave him a unique perspective on what works for those in recovery and what doesn’t. His company, Main Street House, now owns 11 sober homes in Riverhead.

Mr. Hartmann will be in one of the bands playing Saturday. That band, a Led Zeppelin cover band “with a bunch of old guys playing,” is called Zeppasaurous, and he is its lead singer. Also playing are North Fork singer Liza Coppola and Randy Jackson, guitarist for Zebra, a popular band during the 1980s and ’90s.

Tickers for the concert are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Call 631-384-3266 for tickets or information. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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