By Ray Connor
Photos by Ray Connor
The first annual A-Z Foundation Group dinner for the Kern River Valley chapter was right on target.
This past Saturday, a new version of a former association held their first ever fund-raising dinner at the Senior Center. Eighty plus people came through the door for a chance to see what the A-Z Foundation Group was actually about.
They were treated to a function that went swiftly and smoothly and raised money for the local chapter. These monies raised will stay in the valley and be used for furthering the adventure of the youth, those with special needs, and our local veterans.
The A-Z Foundation Group believes that the youth, those with special needs, and veterans are to be supported. Their website a-zfoundationgroup.com offers the following statement, “The A-Z Foundation Group is committed to funding California’s local communities that will benefit youth, veteran, special needs, educational, conservation and other local activities. This organization will also significantly support programs that focus on helping our veterans and their families, along with disabled and terminally ill youth, adults, and their families. The organization will also support children’s hospitals and their patients. We also will raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid and financial support.”
They do this by holding fund-raising banquets in local communities. This was the case this past Saturday for the Kern River Valley chapter.
The night opened with an attitude adjustment starting at 5 p.m. This gave the diners a chance to stroll through the Senior Center to see what was offered in both the live and silent auctions. There were plenty of reunions that allowed the attendees the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
There were games of chance that gave the players a chance to win special items such as a shot gun, or a .45 caliber pistol. One other item that was offered was a game for the chance to win a Traeger Smoker.
Sixty shot glasses were spread out to spell A-Z. Each shot glass held a ticket. For a minimal fee you bought a shot glass and were entered in the drawing for the Traeger. Local mechanic and community supporter Kevin Moore was the lucky recipient of the Traeger Smoker.
The youth table of prizes was raffled off free of charge to those youth in attendance 17 years and younger. These items ranged from a camouflage back pack to fishing and hunting gear.
When those in attendance were properly hydrated from their favorite beverage and all the games were concluded, it was a time to sit and enjoy a rib-eye steak dinner catered by none other than Army veteran Jim Wyly.
The rib-eye steak with all the fixings and all the sides was quickly handed out buffet style to those 80 plus people that were privileged enough to attend the first annual A-Z Foundation Group banquet.
When the dinner portion of the event was over, it was time to get down to business. The event emceed by Rodney Torres and Rick Bulloch gave acknowledgment to all the volunteers of the Kern River Valley chapter.
They also presented Mike and Linda Thomas with a gift for their generous donations that were given away door prize style at this event.
The veterans in attendance were also recognized, and each one was presented with a special coin that honored their time in service. In addition, each veteran was given a raffle ticket where three different prizes were handed out. These special prizes were a U.S. flag done in metal, a pig hunt, and a rifle.
The silent auction was closed and it was time for the live auction. There was an impressive array of items from sports memorabilia to home-made items that dealt with fishing or hunting and honoring veterans.
When the evening came to an end, those in attendance were quick to hand out praise and the enthusiasm of having to wait a whole year for another A-Z Foundation Group event.