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Play On, Brother 

New website celebrates the music of the late Mark Herczog

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In February, Reader's Digest published a condensed version of a 2013 Mother Jones article about Santa Rosa resident Mark Herczog's tragic death, his son's misdiagnosed schizophrenia and our nation's need for education, awareness and treatment of the mentally ill.

The Bohemian covered the story on April 10, 2013. Despite three expert forensic psychiatrists finding that his son was experiencing a psychotic break during the onset of paranoid schizophrenia, it took two years and a costly, unnecessary trial before his son was finally hospitalized and his family could begin to breathe again.

The time of healing for Mark's loved ones has been long and arduous, and the hole left by his absence is deep. But Mark Herczog, my brother, left a lasting legacy: his soulful music and his selfless service to others. Though the district attorney wanted the jury to believe that this devoted father was a practicing alcoholic/addict, Mark was clean and sober for more than 35 years, and helped countless others find strength and hope through Alcoholics Anonymous. His life was about his kids, his program and the music he created for more than 50 years.

Mark was an outstanding lead guitar player, songwriter and entertainer whose performances brought joy and inspiration to thousands. So what better way to honor his legacy than by sharing it? Toward that end, I created a website to showcase his original R&B recordings for others to enjoy and download. His songs are gems, and his talent is undeniable. Knowing that his work will not only be heard but will stand as a legacy for his kids would make him profoundly happy. I also created a fund for his children and grandchildren's college education.

Check out www.reverbnation.com/markherczog to be a part of Mark Herczog's legacy. Or make a donation at www.gofundme.com/837zlg. Though he's gone, his family and his music, all beautiful and special, will live on. Thanks again to the Santa Rosa community for all your prayers and support, and for helping us turn this horrific tragedy into a legacy of love.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the 'Bohemian.' We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write openmic@bohemian.com.

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