Guitar gifts

Jun 29, 2013

Uncle Raggy with the Hannah Montana guitar

Dural Ragsdale—or “Uncle Raggy” as he is better known—is a rather unique Kiwanian.

“I am always on the lookout for the unusual projects,” the Port City, Vicksburg, Mississippi, Kiwanian and former professional guitar player says.

The idea to share his love of music by gifting guitars to wishful children began when his son and some friends sought to record music with a young man who had a nearly unplayable old guitar. After borrowing one of Ragsdale’s Epiphones, the teen made a casual remark of appreciation for the instrument. Ragsdale gave him the guitar right then.

Since his musical background has led him to accumulate a house full of instruments, he began giving away other instruments, ranging from Martin guitars to a set of Yamaha electric computer drums.

“We don't do this often, but we know when the time is right by finding a special instrument,” Ragsdale explains.

Most recently, he was given a battered Hannah Montana Disney Washburn guitar. Though he initially thought it was a toy guitar, he started to play and found it wasn’t as damaged as once thought.

He recalls a lesson from his father: “No matter how beat up you are, if someone hears enough, they can put you back together.”

He and his Kiwanis club showcased the bright purple find on YouTube and offered it to viewers. Several adults offered to purchase the guitar. Once repaired, however, the club shipped the electric guitar, a Peavey amplifier and a set of headphones to a young girl named Zara whose mother wanted her to learn to play.

“We’ve stumbled into what it means to be part of a world community,” Ragsdale says. “Our motto ends with ‘helping one child and one community at a time.’ … We don’t have to know you to know that you’re important to us.” –Courtney Meyer

Have a Kiwanis story to share? Send it to shareyourstory@kiwanis.org for consideration.

Has your Kiwanis club ever given the gift of music? Tell us how in the comment section below.