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Local opinion columnists

Generosity flows at community events

By From page A8 | September 08, 2013

My wife Jill and I had the pleasure in recent weeks to attend a number of events, all of which demonstrate the community’s generosity and fun-loving spirit.

The Police Activities League hosted its annual dinner and auction Aug. 17 at Jelly Belly. The event raised more than $58,000 for the PAL’s activities to benefit the community’s teens. It’s a fun event that takes place in the Grand Bean Room at Jelly Belly.

Local businesses and community groups donate a boatload of items as raffle and auction prizes, but it’s the live auction that kicks the fun into high gear.

Sgt. Kevin Carella served as emcee for the evening. He became a live auction “prize” himself in a move that – at least outwardly – he played as a surprise. I say he was the “prize” because his name was linked to the prize: People were bidding for the honor of shooting Carella with a police stun gun.

Police Chief Walt Tibbet’s wife, Brenda, was the winner. She paid $750.

There’s a reason why the police chief’s wife was gunning for the stun-gun prize, one I will not relate here. Suffice to say that Carella put himself into play through a breach of emcee protocol. Ask him yourself if you’re interested. Or ask others who were there.

To put it into perspective, the right to shoot Carella with a stun gun has been auctioned off before. He says he’s never been stunned himself, and I believe him. He likely won’t get stunned this time, either, but the crowd sure had a good time bidding on the possibility.

Meanwhile, across town, the Tomato Festival was taking place in downtown Fairfield.

The festival that night featured a dinner and wine-pairing event to benefit the Main Street Association – organizers of the popular festival – and the local Meals on Wheels program.

Margaret Manzo said the fundraiser netted about $1,200 for Meals on Wheels.

That’s important because Meals on Wheels was one of the community programs caught up in this year’s automatic federal budget cuts, known in government circles as sequestration. Any local dollars to replace those lost federal dollars help keep local senior citizens fed.

The Tomato Festival itself is a fundraiser of sorts for the Main Street Association. While the books are not yet closed on this summer’s offering, any profit that’s derived from the festival supports the Main Street Association’s other efforts throughout the year.

You may recall that the state eliminated city redevelopment agencies a couple of years ago to help balance the state’s budget. That move gutted funding to the Main Street Association, which is now working to become self-sufficient.

I’m sure they’re on their way. I know Jill and I helped the cause greatly through our support of vendors and a local restaurant that Sunday.

The next Saturday was Prime Rib in the Park, a fundraiser by the Fairfield Host Lions Club to benefit the Fun on the Run after-school mobile recreation program that’s operated by the city.

The night was a great success. Fun on the Run, through the Fairfield Community Services Foundation, will see approximately $22,000 from the event to keep the program going for the remainder of this year and into 2014.

The event takes place under the setting sun and then under the stars at McNaughton Park on Great Jones Street, across the street from Bank of America and adjacent to the Daily Republic. Prime Rib in the Park, in its ninth year, has now raised more than $200,000 to support Fun on the Run.

My club, the Fairfield-Suisun Twilight Rotary Club, has long supported Fun on the Run. We’re doing so again from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday with our inaugural Twilight Lobster Boil. Guests will enjoy fresh boiled lobster and the fixings, and will have the opportunity to take part in a dessert auction for some sumptuous after-dinner fare.

Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available. For tickets or more information, call 427-6927.

Until next week, keep the community spirit alive in your hearts.

Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.

Glen Faison

Glen Faison

Glen Faison joined the Daily Republic as managing editor in September 2009. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in the San Joaquin Valley for 20-plus years. His experience includes time as editor of the Golden Eagle, a military paper serving the Lemoore Naval Air Station. He graduated from Fresno State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and bleeds Bulldogs red. He is an avid fan of the NFL's Washington team, and attended the 1988 NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings at RFK Stadium. He's a member of the Fairfield-Suisun Twilight Rotary Club and a board member for the Solano County Library Foundation. He married his wife, Jill, in 2005, and has three children: Courtni, Tyler and Hayli.

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