When I arrived at the Blues on the Red summer concert last month, I expected to take in the music, grab a few quotes from attendees and be done. But, while the photo intern and I were scoping out the best spot to snag a photo, she heard the lead singer of the band dedicate the concert to a man who had been a staple at the concerts and had passed away the night before. I didn’t hear the tribute but when Jenna relayed the message, I knew we had to chase the story. We found an event organizer, Greg Hoover, who told us: the man’s name was Ray Ganyo, he was physically handicapped and the blues concerts were one of the few times he could forget about his illness. He also said a friend of Ganyo’s was at the front of the crowd, also wheelchair bound, and she may be willing to talk. Later, he introduced me to Peggy Dores, a longtime friend of Ganyo’s. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she talked to me about her beloved friend and shared their special friendship with me, one formed by blues music and blues festivals.
After speaking with Dores, I was touched and knew we had a story. I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet Ganyo, but from speaking with several people who knew him, I could tell he was a good, caring man that always lived life to the fullest and had a “cup half full” view of the world even after an accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. I tracked down Ganyo’s mother, Marlene Dvorak, and spoke with her about her son. My heart was hurting as she told me she had recently lost her husband as well. She fought back her tears as she said Ganyo was her life and that he was always very gracious and thankful of her help. She said he never let her leave without a hug and kiss from him.
To learn more about Ganyo and his special blues friendship with Dores, read the full article at GFHerald.com.