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Jun 28 - Rock Guitar Hero Don Felder Fires Up Serving Seniors 50th Anniversary Gala

June 28, 2021

Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA – Serving Seniors

                             619-997-2495 or

Rock Guitar Hero Don Felder Fires Up Serving Seniors 50th Anniversary Gala

SAN DIEGO, Calif.-   With more reasons to celebrate than ever before, Serving Seniors will kick off its second half century of service to San Diego’s low-income and homeless seniors in style with a celebratory concert featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitar legend Don Felder.

The concert highlights the organization’s 50th Anniversary ‘Sunshine Gala,’ which takes place on Saturday, October 2, at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

Both Serving Seniors and Felder are emerging into the sunshine after their plans were drastically changed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Felder, formerly of The Eagles, with a legacy as one of the most innovative riff-generating songwriters of the modern rock era, released his first new solo album in seven years in April 2019. Titled American Rock ’N’ Roll, it showcases Felder’s versatile artistic talents, consisting of 11 high-energy rockers mixed with touching, thoughtful ballads. However, like the rest of the world, Felder’s plans for touring were put on hold.

Likewise, as Serving Seniors looked forward to celebrating its 50th year of service in 2020, those plans were put on hold. Instead, virtually overnight Serving Seniors rapidly responded to the urgent health and nutritional needs of San Diego County’s low-income seniors impacted by COVID-19, creating a new program from scratch to provide a record breaking 1.7 million meals home-delivered and to-go meals for its clients during the pandemic year.

Also delayed, Serving Seniors’ President and CEO Paul Downey celebrated 25 years with the organization in 2020. Since being appointed the role in 1995, Downey has guided the nonprofit’s innovative efforts, making Serving Seniors a national model for compassionate and life changing care for seniors in need.  

“Just as we looked forward to marking this significant milestone, our organization instead put all its energy into meeting an unprecedented need due to the unforeseen pandemic crisis,” said Downey. “Without hesitation, our staff, volunteers and donors met the challenge to continue vital services to our low income and homeless seniors. Their accomplishments are worth celebrating.

“Forget the rocking chairs. We’re ready to rock with Don Felder into the next half century and invite San Diegans to join us,” said Downey.

Tickets are available now for the 50th anniversary gala and private concert at the Serving Seniors website.  

Felder was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles in 1998. Felder spent 27 years with the Eagles, who own the distinction of recording the top-selling album of all time — Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which has sold over 38 million copies (and counting). “I’m blessed enough to have contributed to and been a part of a very talented mixture of voices, writing, guitar parts, and production. I’m very proud of that,” Felder says of the group.  

Felder left the band in 2001 to forge an impressive career as a top-tier solo artist. Felder added best-selling author to his impressive resume when his 2008 memoir, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), became an instant New York Times smash bestseller. 

Felder navigated the burgeoning rock scene in his native Gainesville, Florida, in the 1960s, which included a stint teaching guitar to Tom Petty and learning slide guitar from his longtime friend Duane Allman. His matchless lead-guitar tone added extra fuel to Eagles tracks like “Already Gone,” “One of These Nights,” “Take It to the Limit,” and “New Kid in Town,” in addition to having co-written “Victim of Love,” “Those Shoes,” and his most popular co-creation, “Hotel California.” Felder has also recorded with and performed alongside top-drawer artists such as The Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, and Stephen Stills.

Delayed but in no way dimmed by the coronavirus pandemic, the 50th Anniversary ‘Sunshine Gala’ celebrates one half century of a vibrant history and brightening senior lives. The event features a cocktail reception, dinner, and live and silent auction full of surprises, with a goal of raising $400,0000 for programs and services needed now more than ever.

Longtime Serving Seniors supporters and notable San Diego philanthropists Gary and Mary West will serve as Honorary Committee Chairs – an assignment delayed one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Serving Seniors’ past board chair, community leader, and Sempra Energy Director Molly Cartmill serves as the 50th Anniversary Steering Committee Chair, providing leadership guidance and strategic oversight for activities and events.

Major event sponsors are Sempra and Qualcomm.

Two in five older adults in San Diego County remain unable to afford basic rent, food, transportation, or healthcare. Through ongoing fundraising efforts including this year’s Sunshine Gala, Serving Seniors can help meet these basic needs.

About Serving Seniors

Founded in 1970, Serving Seniors is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in San Diego, California, dedicated to serving low-income adults aged 60 and over. A leader in senior advocacy and programming, Serving Seniors has created an innovative model of comprehensive services including nutrition meals, housing, health and social services and lifelong learning opportunities to hundreds of seniors in need. It is the largest provider of meals to seniors in the county, and one of the only organizations in the nation providing such a robust range of services to vulnerable, at-risk older adults.

Serving Seniors President and CEO Paul Downey has been instrumental in the organization’s growth over the past 25 years. Since being appointed the role in 1995, Downey has guided the nonprofit’s innovative efforts to provide supportive services focused on keeping low-income seniors healthy and independent. Under Downey’s leadership, Serving Seniors has grown to provide more than 640,000 nutritious meals and coordinated services to 5,000 older adults each year. Follow Serving Seniors on Facebook @ServingSeniorsSD, Instagram @servingseniorssd and Twitter @ServingSeniors.

  • Alliance Healthcare Foundation
  • The San Diego Women's Foundation
    The San Diego Women's Foundation
  • CCDC
  • The California Wellness Foundation
    The California Wellness Foundation
  • Darlene Shiley
  • Gary and Mary West Foundation
  • Grossmont Healthcare District
    Grossmont Healthcare District
  • Price Philanthropies
  • Qualcomm
  • The San Diego Foundation
    The San Diego Foundation
  • Sempra
  • Trio Community Meals
  • Wells Fargo Foundation