So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve heard about and seen footage from the Indiana State Fair stage collapse on August 13, 2011. I know I’ve seen the story covered on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News and even on entertainment shows that normally report on the latest outfit worn by a celebrity. What you may not know is that out of the 6 people who lost their lives in this accident, one victim was one of our own.

Nathan Byrd was a spotlight operator who was seated in the truss when it collapsed. You read that right; he was seated in the truss. As a spot op, he was one of several people who were stationed in the truss high above the stage to operate the spots. Most people who attend a show never realize the spot ops are up there. Mr. Byrd was at his post that night as Sugarland was about to take the stage, moments before the collapse.

Being a spot op is a dangerous job, even on a normal day. Check out this YouTube video that someone shot of a spot op getting into position. The video is appropriately titled “The dangerous work of a spotlight operator.”

Mr. Byrd was a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 30 union in Indianapolis and they are taking donations to help his family. I know that many of us have gone through tough economic times these past few years. But Nathan Byrd was a single parent of two teen boys, ages 13 and 15. Let me say that again: He was a single parent. Please help his family if you can. Every little bit helps and can hopefully provide some measure of comfort and security in what must be a terrible time.

The AV and pro audio communities have always been so great at taking care of our own. Well, one of our own needs our help. You can find more information on where you can send your donation in this PLSN article.