An­nual Din­ner Suc­cess For Friends Of The NRA

Riverbank News - - NEWS - BY VIR­GINIA STILL [email protected]­dale­leader.com

The park­ing lot was packed and the Gene Bianchi Com­mu­nity Cen­ter in Oak­dale was filled with guests on Aug. 4 for the an­nual fundraiser hosted by the Friends of the NRA. There were over 300 guests in at­ten­dance that came from around the area, in­clud­ing at­ten­dees from River­bank, Escalon, Man­teca, Sonora, Modesto, Water­ford and Oak­dale.

The fes­tiv­i­ties be­gan with a wel­come from NRA Field Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cole Bev­erly, who was also the mas­ter of cer­e­monies for the event. He rec­og­nized vet­er­ans and first re­spon­ders that were in the crowd which were ap­plauded. Bev­erly also added that it is im­por­tant to build the pro­gram to pro­tect our Sec­ond Amend­ment right as well as pre­serv­ing that right for the gen­er­a­tions to come.

The Oak­dale Friends of the NRA com­mit­tee in­clude Chair­man Olympia Fran­cis-Man­del, Vice Chair­man Frances Fran­cis, Trea­surer Tim Man­del, and Sec­re­tary Mark Gar­rett. They are a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion. The Man­dels have been or­ga­niz­ing the an­nual din­ner for the past three years and stated that at­ten­dance has in­creased each year.

“It was big­ger and bet­ter than in years past,” stated Olympia. “It gets big­ger and bet­ter ev­ery year. Our goal is al­ways to raise more funds than we raised the pre­vi­ous year which we did and our goal is al­ways to get more peo­ple in the build­ing, which we did.”

The $60 din­ner ticket in­cluded a raffle ticket for the door prize, din­ner, live auction, silent auction, and eight dif­fer­ent games. The pub­lic is in­vited to at­tend and guests do not have to be an NRA mem­ber. For the third year in a row, L and M Blod­gett Ca­ter­ing out of Escalon catered the din­ner and served up tri-tip, chicken, pota­toes, salad, and rolls. Dessert in­cluded a va­ri­ety of cup­cakes which were do­nated by com­mit­tee mem­ber Robin Gi­un­toli from Escalon. There were sev­eral items raf­fled off in­clud­ing a safe with guns and each white raffle ticket this year gave peo­ple a chance to win a va­ri­ety of guns like a .38 Smith and Wes­son, Brown­ing Buck­mark, and Rem­ing­ton model 870 Shot­gun.

“Peo­ple are com­ing to these events and they want guns,” stated Tim. “They want to win guns so in­stead of hav­ing just a bunch of mis­cel­la­neous stuff and a few guns we de­cided to make the en­tire white bucket raffle guns. That way peo­ple had the op­por­tu­nity to win more guns.”

There were sev­eral games par­tic­i­pants could play to win raffle tick­ets, in­clud­ing a Mo­nop­oly-type game, the wall of guns which is where you buy a ticket and af­ter they sell 50 tick­ets they do a draw­ing for ‘win­ner’s choice’ of any gun on the wall, and an­other game with good odds was the card cut game where guests pur­chased a card and if they draw your card you win a gun. There were also sev­eral Griz­zly cool­ers that were be­ing raf­fled off, one of them with a gun in it, and also of­fered was a raffle for kids 17 years and younger.

The event was sold out a week prior to the night of the din­ner and they raised over $119,000. Some of the funds raised will go to sup­port youth shoot­ing sports – such as trap teams –and pro­mote ed­u­ca­tional ef­forts. Olympia ex­plained that the NRA is a lob­by­ist group that fights for peo­ple to keep their Sec­ond Amend­ment right and the friends of the NRA are a non­profit that raise money for the fu­ture of shoot­ing sports and ed­u­ca­tional out­reach to teach women how to shoot.

They also had a live auction and a silent auction that had a va­ri­ety of items like a quilt do­nated by Karen Bene­dict from Val­ley Home, wooden flag, back­packs, cool­ers, ac­cent ta­ble, hunt­ing sa­fari, Gads­den Flag signed by Mark Geist, planter boxes, bar stools and much more. Auc­tion­eer Seth Sev­ers had guests ex­cited and in­volved with the live auction.

“A big thank you from the Oak­dale Friends of the NRA com­mit­tee to ev­ery­body that came to the din­ner,” said Tim. “We look for­ward to see­ing them next year.”

VIR­GINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The silent auction for the Friends of NRA din­ner had a va­ri­ety of items for guests to bid on like the dual burner stove, knives, wood and metal planters, grill ac­ces­sories home dé­cor and a gar­den­ing bucket.

VIR­GINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The Friends of the NRA din­ner hosted in Oak­dale ear­lier this month was a sold out event with guests from River­bank, Oak­dale, Escalon, Man­teca and Sonora in at­ten­dance.

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