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Fundraisers will benefit accident victims

Bands, skaters, bikers, rollergirls and restaurateurs pull together to help

The similarities are striking.

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Both men have a young child (one has two). Both have ties to the local punk-rock scene. Both suffered a horrible accident in recent weeks. And both are beneficiaries of a fundraising movement that collectively includes rock and punk bands, skate boarders and scooter clubs, roller girls and restaurateurs.

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"People have gotten in touch with me who I've never met before," says Keirsta Zimmerman, who's friends with one of the men, Justin Parker, and is helping organize an Aug. 4 benefit at the Star Bar. "There's a gentleman who came to me and just dropped off a couple of guitars to auction. It gives me shivers to think about how many people are coming forward to help with such a strange, horrible, freak accident."

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On July 8, Parker and some friends were hanging out at Liberty Tattoo on Ponce de Leon Avenue when an SUV accidentally crashed into the building. Atlanta officers arrived a few minutes later, at around 11 p.m., and found Parker pinned between the vehicle and the crumbled storefront. Later that night, doctors at Grady Memorial Hospital amputated both his legs.

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A week and a day later, Zac Johnson went for a Sunday morning motorcycle ride with friends. Just a few miles from his Stone Mountain home, where his wife was resting with their 2-week-old daughter, Johnson, a member of the local biker scene and the Imperial Scooter Club, was involved in a wreck that put him in a five-day coma. (He awoke July 21 but faces a long recovery.)

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The Imperial Scooter Club will be holding weekly fundraisers for Johnson at its Scootlanta event every Wednesday from 7:30-10 p.m. at Thinking Man Tavern, 537 West Howard Ave., Decatur. Proceeds from the ISC's annual rally, which will be held Sept. 14-17, also will be donated to Johnson.

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Several   fundraisers will be held for Parker as well. On Aug. 4, the Star Bar will host the “Justin Parker Blue Ribbon Benefit” featuring a silent auction, raffle, barbecue, and performances by Artimus Pyledriver, Stevie T. and the Tombstones, the Selmanaires, Brass Castle, Das Manics, Bitch, and the Rock City Dropouts. Also on Aug. 4, the Atlanta Rollergirls will host a benefit for Parker at the Earl with performances by Telegram, Creve Coeur, Engineering and Elevado. An upcoming art auction is also in the works.

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Ria Pell, a longtime friend of Parker's and owner of Ria's Bluebird Cafe, says donations for Parker, who used to play drums in the punk band Reeb, topped $5,000 in the days following the accident. Parker worked in construction, is uninsured and has a wife and two young children. Pell says money also was raised to cover vet bills; the last thing Parker did before the accident was scoop up a friend's dog that was about to get hit.

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"It's the most horrific thing," Pell says. "In a split second, life just changed. It really puts everything into perspective for your own life."

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GET INVOLVED: For more info on the Parker fundraiser or to make a donation to the family, visit www.myspace.com/justinparkerfund . For more info on the Johnson fundraiser visit www.imperialsc.com ; to make a donation to the family visit zacsfund.blogspot.com .

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Editor’s Note: This story has been modified to reflect corrections and updates to the fundraisers.




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