iSociety: Rochelle Rose

The 28th annual Impact 2012: Making Connections Dinner & Auction was held Saturday in the decorated clubhouse and grounds at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club. The large crowd of 350 supporters enjoyed a night of gourmet food, including prime rib and grilled salmon, a hosted bar, live and silent auctions, and lots of fun.

The man of the evening was longtime club director Rich Medel, who is retiring this year after 40 years of hard work, dedication and service at the Boys & Girls Club. Medel, board members and dedicated volunteers started this auction 28 years ago, and Saturday’s event was Medel’s last auction.

Medel was brought to the stage twice by an admiring and appreciative crowd.

“This is typical Carpinteria — we are so proud of our club and our community,” he said. “Your presence here tonight indicates this. The Boys & Girls Club and the community are blessed to have what we have here in Carpinteria.”

Forever humble, he thanked his wife, Patsy, family members and volunteers for the phenomenal success of the Boys & Girls Club over the past two decades. From a room at Alisos Elementary School to a garage at Saint Joseph’s Chapel in the early 1970s, the club now boasts a game room, learning resource center, computer room and the Peggy Brown Daycare Center.

The leadership behind this year’s event included the venerable Louise Cruz, auction co-chair and board president, honorary auction chair Gary Goldberg, as well as committee and board members Rich and Patsy Medel, Claudia Lash, Ann Dalley, Pat Keiser, Anthony Castillo, John and Taffy Balch, Wade Nomura, Lynn Ransom, Roxanne Nomura and Jorge Gonzales. The staff members on hand to help in every way included Javier Morales, David Bleecker, Jamie Balch Collins, Bobby Morales, Amanda Lyons, Steven Mercer, Alan Pottkotter, Mary Staniforth and Kai Shih.

Top sponsors were Montecito Bank & Trust, Tim and Virginia Bliss, Carpinteria Warehouses, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Cox Cable, EJ Harrison & Sons, Hickey Brothers Land Co., Gary Goldberg-Coastal Properties, Balch, Ever-Bloom, the Carpinteria Lions Club, CKE, MarBorg Industries, Balloon Affair, S&S Seeds and the Medels.

The bar was manned by cheerful volunteers, with the spirits donated by The Palms, beer by Island Brewing Co., and floral arrangements and plants by Flowers West, Susie Schneider, Westerlay Orchids, B&H Flowers, Gallup & Stribling and Hilltop Flowers. Country Catering barbecued up a storm to keep the buffet plates full of beef, salmon, asparagus and couscous.

“We budgeted to raise $90,000 at this event, and I think we made it,” Medel said. “I am waiting for just a couple of late donations. This is an outstanding achievement in this economy.”

The live auction was deftly handled by the father and son auctioneer duo of Bill Hoffer and Bill Hoffer Jr. One-of-a-kind offerings included Oaxaca Fresh Restaurant dinner for 25, Lion Club BBQ for 50, Bend, Ore., luxury cabin stay, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers sports package, and much more.

Mistress of Ceremonies Paula Lopez said she was raised in the Boys & Girls Club.

“It provided me with outlets for sports, leadership development and career motivation,” she said. “The kids we support today will be the strength of our community tomorrow.”

The Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club, 600 youth members strong, is dedicated to providing guidance, friendship and encouragement for each member. Membership dues are only $20 a year. It offers a positive place to be after school with computer education, games, leadership groups. reading initiatives and positive mentoring.

For more information about the club, to donate or for other ways to help, click here or call 805.684.1568.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews, @NoozhawkBiz and @NoozhawkSociety. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook and Noozhawk on Pinterest.