Friday, April 15th, 2016
The sun was shining as we loaded up three cars; the sense of excitement was building. By 11:45, the golfers starting showing up. Mark Robinson, from O’Reilly Buick-GMC, pulled up in a white 2016 Casacata Convertible and parked it next to the registration table so that all the golfers could see what they could win with a hole-in-one on the 9th hole.
By noon, Kim Miller and Dianna Curtis delivered our Pica’s pizzas and Pretzels from Pretzel Boys; followed by Chris Knight, from Double Edge Sports Grille, dropping off the best chicken cheese steak egg rolls in Delaware County. The golfers, volunteers, and the staff at Paxon, enjoyed the food we provided.
Through the generosity of Delaware County Councilman David J. White four veterans were treated to their full day experience with us. Once the golfers finished checking in, they received their golf bags containing a signature golf hat with the Wild Bill Logo, potato chips provided by Herr’s, peanut butter crackers and a few other give-a-ways. Happy with their stash, golfers made their way to the golf carts that had been lined up and ready to go. Dan Malley, Paxon’s Golf Pro, welcomed everyone and explained the closet to the pin, putting contest, hole-in-one and then the 136 golfers were off to the respected holes. Rich Lazar, our volunteer photographer, Kim, Diana, Heather, Ashley, Kathi, and the Megans’ darted off trying to beat the golfers to the contest holes.
The Wild Bill Golf peeps waited to set up the banquet room. Lisa, Tracy, Laurie and Brigid helped set up over 60 raffle prizes, while Doug Ferguson, Director of Alumni Programs at DCCC, offered a hand in setting up the silent auction items.
Mario, Ernie and Gabrielle manned the doors and sold raffle tickets. Lisa Gallo started selling 50/50 raffles to the golfers at registration and continued throughout the evening bringing the total to $1650; not a bad take home for Craig Johnson.
As things winded down on the golf course, Scott Brown, Director of Veterans Advisory Board, Philadelphia drove Brigid Gallagher, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Veteran’s House, around in a golf cart thanking golfers for coming out and support the efforts of the Wild Bill Guarnere Memorial Fund. When the golfers shuffled into the ballroom around 6:30, the Smedley D Butler Brigade presented colors. Debra Michael’s beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled banner left the spectators with tears in their eyes and chills down their spines.
DJ Hugo, John Useller, introduced Congressman Meehan to say a few words. Not only did the congressman join us for our fundraiser, he donated a Flag that flew over the Capitol for our live auction, which Matt Young was lucky enough to win.
The delicious dinner served by the friendly staff at Anthony’s at Paxon Hollow Country Club was roast beef with flaming long-hots, pasta, roasted potatoes, and green beans. Bartenders Pat and Clarky continued serving up drinks as Kim Miller presented a $1,000 check to Brigid Gallagher, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Veteran’s House, from the funds from our last year’s efforts.
As the raffles were being given to the winners, Heather Capoferri, read the brief description of our Legacy Award. Gene, son of Wild Bill, was called up to present the award to 6 year old Jack Dolly. Jack walked up to the microphone but declined talking in it. He shook hands and posed for pictures. He has told many stories about meeting the men in WWII and fighting side by side with them, maybe he did… Jack has brought flowers to Wild Bill’s grave and refers to him as “Debi’s Heavenly Grandfadder”. In his 6 years of life he has showed more respect to our Military then some of the adults in this Country.
With a few quick changes, our DJ became our Live Auctioneer. Although there was a little confusion, the sounds of “Yepping”, like the noises on “Storage Wars”, and a bid that had to be settled with a coin toss, it was a successful auction. A WMMR Basket, a Swarovski necklace, and an Army Helmet signed by Wild Bill were some of the items. Councilman David Oh even got in on the action.
Luckily, the Silent Auctions ended without any fights. There were golf trips to Williamsburg, compliments of the Ruccis’ and Traditional Golf Properties, signed memorabilia donated by Gene and Arlene Guarnere, several collectables from Ed Humphries, a Band of Brothers DVD signed by Tom Hanks, a stay at the Historic Smithton Inn with tickets to Sight and Sound Theater, a Mount Pocono Camping Resort weekend complete with camping essentials, dinner for four at The Philadelphia Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, and items from Dover Downs, The Pittsburg Steelers, The Philadelphia Soul and Temple Football.
When the dust settles and the checks have all been accounted for, we shall see how we made out with our fundraising efforts.
There are not enough words to express how grateful the Wild Bill Guarnere Memorial Fund is with the outpouring of support from our sponsors, golfers, volunteers, speakers, donators, and hole sponsors. Without your assistance we would not be able to continue the work of Wild Bill, raising money for our Veterans. For me personally, I am thankful for my parents, Gene and Arlene Guarnere, my entire family and so many friends that believed in me when I started all this a few years ago.
We hope to see you next year on April 21, 2017….same place, same time!
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