Within the Whidbey community, John and Beth Tristao are famous for their generosity and dedication to neighbors and friends in need.
But after a medical emergency depleted the couple’s finances, community members and friends are rallying to raise funds to aid the couple who has helped so many.
Recently, John Tristao suffered a life-threatening cardiac event, known ominously as “the widow-maker.”
His aortic valve was torn from the top of his heart into the kidneys; he simultaneously had an aortic aneurysm, also known as an aortic aneurysm dissection. Tristao was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he underwent emergency surgery.
Friends like Judy Lynn attribute his survival in no small part to the expert care he received.
However, the family’s insurance provider had ended its ties with Harborview shortly before the incident, thus leaving the family to foot a bill that is, as Lynn wrote in a press release, “off the charts.”
In addition, he has had to undergo a number of subsequent necessary treatments and tests.
Due to the severity of the injury, Tristao has also been unable to work for four months.
Lynn and numerous others are cooperating to hold a fundraising event to help ease the family’s financial strain, and allow Tristao to heal stress-free.
The event will be from 1-6 p.m. Sunday, May 1 at the Coupeville Rec Hall. All ages are welcome.
The price of admission is a $20 donation, though additional donations will also be accepted.
Food and beverages will be provided by Christopher’s, The Oystercatcher, Fraser’s Gourmet Hideaway, Front Street Grill, Toby’s Tavern, Penn Cove Shellfish and Ciao. The bands Skinny Tie Jazz, VIP Praise Team, DB Jazz and Broken Banjo will perform live.
The cost of alcoholic beverages will be charged in addition to the admission price.
Donations can also be deposited to the John and Beth Tristao Fund at People’s Bank, or to the Tristao’s GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/74xxmmgk, set up by the couple’s Bay Area friends Ron and Dennis Brooks.
The Tristaos have become an integral part of the community since relocating from California over 30 years ago. John Tristao was formerly a school custodian, but left that position to become the lead singer of the popular band Creedence Clearwater Revisted, in which he plays alongside original members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook.
John Tristao has also performed numerous benefit shows with his band Johnny Bulldog, helping to raise funds for organizations like Gifts of the Heart Food Bank, Hearts and Hammers, the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation, CADA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation and Friends of Ebey’s Reserve.
The couple has also stepped in to help in emergency situations, including the Oso and Edgecliff landslides.
“We have counted on them for over 20 years, and they have never let us down,” Lynn wrote. “Now it’s our turn.”
Lynn has known the Tristaos for about 28 years.
“He’s a lovely man, well-beloved,” Lynn said.
“It’s a remarkable, yet not surprising, effort by our community to give back to this couple who has helped in so many ways,” she said.