By Dennis Wyatt Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to generosity, the gold standard is set by Manteca businessmen like Dennis Williams who oversees Ernie’s Food and Spirits and Casino Real as well as Phil Waterford who owns Manteca Ford and Exotic High Car Line.
The two were involved in the live auction at “The Evening of Honor” that took place Friday at The Place of Refuge as a fundraiser for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend Commemoration on Sunday, May 25. Military leaders have indicated the event taking place at Woodward Park in Manteca is the biggest event of its kind on the West Coast as it draws close to 20,000 people.
Waterford was a bidder and Williams supplied an auction item.
Williams donated a dinner for six at Ernie’s Food and Spirits and brought along his award-winning Executive Chef Michael Midgley who has appeared on Bravo Television’s “ Top Chef” and the Food Network’s “Cut Throat Kitchen” as well as a judge on Esquire Network’s “Knife Fight” to promote it.
Steve Ramsey of Lathrop-based USA Motors and John Ferraiolo of the Stockton-based Auto Factory went in together to get the bidding up to $3,000.
Williams then offered to provide a second dinner for six for the same price to the bidder that dropped out just before $3,000 became the top bid.
That means $6,000 will help offset the $70,000 in expenses the Not Forgotten Committee incurs to stage the annual event.
KAT Country 103 in collaboration with country superstar Tim McGraw donated a Copley guitar autographed by Tim McGraw plus two concert tickets to his concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater.
Waterford got locked in a bidding contest and came out on top at $1,000. After securing the item, he went to the table of an active duty Air Force member in uniform he had been bidding against and gifted the guitar as well as the two tickets to the serviceman.
“I’m a very competitive guy and when I looked across the room and saw one of our U.S. Military men who fights for the freedoms that we enjoy everyday interested in this item, I just had to have it,” Waterford said. “The best part for me was looking this man in his eyes, shaking his hand, and thanking him for his sacrifice and service to this great nation.”
In the past Waterford has arranged for several new Fords to be raffled off to raise money for the Memorial Day Weekend event. He has also gifted cars to those who have served during the commemoration.