When the country star learned that 51 children were left fatherless following the devastating Arizona wildfire that killed 19 elite firefighters on June 30, the Phoenix native knew he wanted to help.
With his only day off for the rest of July, Bentley, 37, is hosting the July 22 "Country Cares Concert" in Prescott Valley, Ariz., to raise money for the fallen families affected by the deadliest firefighter loss since the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attacks.
"We want to make as much for those families as we can and hopefully start something that will continue on long after the music is over as far as remembering the firefighters and their families and these kids that live on as well," Bentley said, the Associated Press reports. "We want to help get something rolling to look after them and help them move forward."
The 19 members of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling an out of control wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., a small town about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix, after lightning ignited the blaze on June 28th and shifting winds blocked their ability to escape. The firefighters were based in nearby Prescott – where Bentley's benefit concert will take place.
Bentley is inviting other performers to participate in the benefit concert, and the full lineup will be announced in the coming days, says AP.
All proceeds will go to United Phoenix Firefighters, to be distributed directly to the families of the fallen. Tickets go on sale Friday at the Tim's Toyota Center box office in Prescott Valley or online at sponsor radio station KMLE-FM's website.
Despite the somber reason for the benefit, Bentley hopes it can be an opportunity for reflection – and even an excuse to crack a smile.
"It's a tragic event but hopefully this will provide some healing and sort of be an uplifting moment for the community," Bentley said.
"We want to raise some money, try to be positive, focus on the good things and do something good on this occasion. Hopefully, it will be a fun evening in the face of tragic events and raise people's spirits."