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February 9, 2023

Remembering Ricky Cruz

An update from Mack Bailey, Music Therapy of the Rockies Founder & Executive Director

I was hit with news last night that has led to some emotional ramblings today.

The mission of Music Therapy of the Rockies is Mental Wellness through the Power of Music. Our number one goal is, and will always be, to support veterans so they don’t take their own life. That has happened once in our short history of retreats. But losing these people that I have come to know as friends really touches the soul.

I am forever grateful that we have the music they helped create as a reminder to their true hearts and stories. To have watched the transformation of coming to the retreats looking for help and answers, to standing on the stage for the final concert and appear a different person, is the most powerful part of these retreats.

We lost Gary to a motorcycle accident. Luckily, Gary and I communicated the day before and he was in great spirits and wanting to ride.

We lost Eric to a motorcycle accident as he was preparing for his son’s upcoming wedding.

We lost Dustin to a struggle that he could not overcome.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, we lost Ricky to a heart attack.

Ricky attended two retreats and arrived at the first retreat working hard on getting his life back. He had quit drinking, lost 70 pounds, and was proud of his healthy eating habits. He sent me many photos of the healthy dinners he was preparing for himself. He was passionate about Frisbee Golf and asked me to sponsor a tournament, which we were honored to do.

He attended a second retreat because his musical chops (harmonica) were becoming fun for him and he was performing with a friend at local spots. He sent me many videos and they all made me smile.

At the first retreat, he co-wrote with Mark Elliott and Laura Lenz was the music therapist with them. The song was a powerful image of being so out of control with drinking and not liking himself enough to take care of himself, that a friend had to tie his shoes. To hear his voice quiver as he sang the line, “couldn’t tie my own damn shoes” from the song, still brings a tear.

The second retreat, Ricky worked with Buddy Mondlock. These lyrics included, “Wish I were here. That guy who seemed to have no fear, Who had the map and all that gear, I’m trying to find my way. Wish I were here.” He was writing and sharing.

To each of these gentlemen, it was an honor to get to know you, and thank you for being in my life.



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Music Therapy of the Rockies has changed its name to Music Therapy Retreats and we're celebrating with a new logo and branding.