By Josette Keelor
WINCHESTER -- Friday at the Project HOPE Distribution Center in Winchester, American Idol finalist Jeremy Rosado spoke on the importance of being there for others.
Before the press conference, he helped pack donated medical supplies and medications into shipping boxes, bound for the Philippines early next week. He also plans to travel to the Philippines to help with the relief effort and perform for the people he said gave him hope throughout his run on "American Idol."
Rosado said he had no idea how popular the long-running singing competition is in the Philippines, until he started hearing from fans online.
"I think I have as many fans from the Philippines as I do from 'American Idol,' when it comes to Twitter and Facebook," he said. They were particularly meaningful during moments of weakness, he said, particularly because he tried and failed four times to get on the show before he succeeded in 2012, ultimately making the Top 13. People who didn't even know him were rooting for him.
Then on Nov. 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, the deadliest in that nation's history.
"When I saw the devastation of what happened in the Philippines, my heart completely broke," Rosado said.
He thought about what he might do to help, and he turned to the obvious answer: "music."
"We could write a song, a song called 'Hope for Tomorrow,' that would have a message behind it of encouragement," he said.
"It may feel hopeless right now, and it may feel like your world is completely shattered around you and there's nowhere to go, there's nothing left for you, but there is a hope, a hope for tomorrow that's a promise today," he said.
"A place like Project HOPE that's giving their lives to give back, that's the hope."
The song "Hope for Tomorrow" will be released on iTunes Tuesday for $1.29, and a portion of the proceeds will go to typhoon relief efforts. His record label AIC Records is also offering a contest with Project Hope to encourage sales: For every 100,000 downloads, two lucky fans will be chosen at random to fly to the Philippines for free and help Rosado with relief efforts.
Mike Buckley, president of AIC Records, said downloading the song is not required to enter the contest at ProjectHope.com.
Also at Friday's press conference, J. Knox Singleton, CEO of Inova Health System, presented a $120,000 check to Dr. John P. Howe III, president and CEO of Project HOPE, to help with the relief effort.
Project HOPE collects donations of medical supplies like IV fluids, masks and medications for areas that need it, and Howe said it's currently preparing $5 million-worth of medicines and supplies to send to the Philippines early next week. The shipment brings the total amount of donations that Project HOPE has shipped to the Philippines from Winchester in the assistance of Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief to $7.3 million.
"What we are celebrating today is a wonderful gift that puts a face on who we are as Americans, making a difference in the lives of the people in the Philippines," Howe said.
Rosado thanked those who work with Project HOPE for continuing to inspire him with their daily efforts.
"You guys are changing lives," he said. "Project HOPE is changing lives."
"It's my honor to be able to partner with you guys and release this music and do all these things for a place that supported me so much while I was on 'American Idol.'"
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org