Image Courtesy of Kim Bergeron for East St. Tammany Habitat for HumanityThe two surviving Beatles have lent a hand to help raise money for an effort to build affordable homes for local military veterans in the New Orleans area.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have both autographed a restored piano decorated with painted images of the Fab Four. The piano is scheduled to be auctioned off soon to benefit an effort of a branch of Habitat for Humanity.

Kim Bergeron, a freelance public-relations strategist who worked pro bono for the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity in Slidell, Louisiana, was instrumental in getting the rock legends to sign the piano — no easy task since McCartney and Starr rarely autograph items these days. NOLA.com reports that Bergeron contacted McCartney first, hoping that Sir Paul would lend his signature when he played an October 11 show in New Orleans. That couldn’t be arranged, but she was able to get Ringo to agree to sign the instrument when he and his All-Starr Band performed in Biloxi, Mississippi, on October 17.

Getting McCartney’s John Hancock took a bit more doing. His reps contacted Bergeron to tell her that Paul would be able to sign the piano if the instrument could be brought to Louisville, Kentucky, where he performed on October 28. What was supposed to be a 10-hour journey turned into a 30-hour ordeal when the truck hired to transport the piano broke down multiple times along the way. Eventually, the piano was brought to Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center, where Macca signed it, and treated Bergeron and some of her associates to a meet-and-greet too.

The story behind the piano also is interesting. The antique, upright instrument, which dates back to the late 1800s, was donated to the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity in August by a Mississippi woman. The piano was then restored and painted by Slidell artist Lori Gomez, and the initial plan was auction it at East St. Tammany Habitat’s “Home Is Where the Art Is” gala this past Friday. However, when McCartney’s and Starr’s signatures were procured, it was decided to make the instrument available for bidding via a national auction, the details of which are still being finalized. The piano was put on display at the Slidell charity event.

Funds raised by the sale will go toward the East St. Tammany Habitat for Humanity’s Veterans Build initiative, which will supply housing to one or more local veterans. Bergeron tells ABC News Radio that now that the piano has been autographed by the Beatles band mates, the organization is hoping it can bring in enough money to fund homes for as many as 10 vets and their families.

You can read the story behind the piano and Bergeron’s quest to get it signed by the rock legends at her personal blog, RightBrainDiaries.com.

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