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Friends honor memory of friend with animal shelter benefit

By by camille m. doty/
Nov. 2, 2011 at 6:02 a.m.

James Forman shares an affectionate moment with his husky. Since his death in 2007, his friends have put together a musical concert series to benefit Adopt-A-Pet. So far, they have raised almost $6,500 for the no-kill animal shelter.

Beyond James Forman's tough exterior, he had a soft spot for animals.

Friends said he never turned away a stray animal. He had two dogs, 13 cats, hamsters, turtles and even flying squirrels.

Forman died in his sleep of an enlarged heart in 2007 at age 29.

A Victoria High School graduate, Forman made lifelong connections with his friends. He even spoke to Lance T. Hayes in a dream from which Hayes' idea to honor his deceased friend was born.

Hayes began a benefit months after Forman's death to raise funds for Adopt-A-Pet. This will be the fourth annual event.

"He (Forman) didn't want anyone to be upset," Hayes said. "I think this is a positive way for people to get together."

The Downtown Bar & Grill will host the event for the first time. Riverside Park hosted the event in previous years.

Some of the musical acts include Brea Guettner, Doug Blank, Joel Anthony Williamson, Mandie Bright, Neal's Acoustic Journey, Nick Burleson and Sean Christiansen.

Tim Lara's independent rock band The Loveletter has performed every year. He said Forman was a free-spirited music lover who wore his heart on his sleeve.

"I like to do this every year," he said.

There will also be door prizes, event shirts and stickers, gift card gambles, silent auctions, as well as food and booth vendors to help raise money.

Hayes said the benefit has helped the no-kill shelter raise $6,500.

Forman had a wall of weapons, with cuddly creatures crawling on the floor, Hayes said.

He will continue to organize the event every year because it's a part of him.

"This is one of the best ways I can think of to keep his memory alive," Hayes said.



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