Howery remembered: $40K hit by Boys & Girls of Club fabulous dinner auction

November 16, 2001
Santa Paula News

For the first time in the history of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Paula, the annual Dinner Auction was dedicated to an individual who was a strong supporter of the club and youth, and those who support the memory of Mel Howery and the club responded with over $40,000.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesFor the first time in the history of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Paula, the annual Dinner Auction was dedicated to an individual who was a strong supporter of the club and youth, and those who support the memory of Mel Howery and the club responded with over $40,000.“It never ceases to amaze me,” the support the community has for the club, said B&GCSP Board President Carol Burhoe. “And it will make me equally proud when you get those checkbooks out,” to not only benefit youth programs, but the memory of Howery, the city’s Recreation Director for over 26 years.“Enchanted Holidays” at the Community Center - the creation of the facility was a pet project of Howery’s - featured twinkling lights and lavishly decorated Christmas wreaths; the room was ringed with dozens of silent auction items as the hundreds of guests jostled for space to place their bids on the array of merchandise. Corporate sponsors of “Enchanted Holidays” were D.W. Burhoe Construction, Chino’s Market, Harrison Industries, Limoneira Co. and Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. Those in attendance included Supervisor Kathy Long and City Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa.Gary Nasalroad, past President of the B&GCSP Board, welcomed the crowd, noting “Mel contributed to the community and the club in many, many ways, including making sure an old fire station was converted into this community center. Mel was a former Boys & Girls Club of Santa Paula director, and he always realized the importance of having activities for the boys and girls of the community,” including the 3,000 youths who participate in club programs.
Lucia Howery said her late husband loved Santa Paula; when he died unexpectedly at age 63 in June, the outpouring of “kindness, love and support during the most difficult time of my life,” as well as the event dedicated in his memory, are “things I will never forget. . .”After the dinner, auctioneer Lou Wagner - assisted by Nasalroad - kept the bids coming as tables formed friendly rivalries for the array of auction items.A big seller was the Head Table occupied by Santa Paula Chevrolet’s John Macik and guests: Macik liked it so much he was the top bidder again for next year’s dinner-auction head table, $1,100 to again entertain select friends.An emphasis was on art and one work by the legendary Jessie Arms Botke brought in $650. Other items that prompted spirited bidding included Dinner at the Santa Paula Fire House - including cab service via engine - that went for $550, a Real McCoy, Jim and Marie that is, barbecue for $850, and those ever popular Debbie Johnson gourmet cheesecakes were sweet at $180. Vacation packages, custom meals, an array of tickets for kids, golf outings, a night on the town, bed and breakfast in a Santa Paula showcase, flowers, cheese, cultural experiences, theater tickets and more were snapped up by eager buyers.Those that didn’t offer an winning bid were still winners when much of the room jumped to their feet to take up the offer of B&GCSP Executive Director Pat Zwagerman’s offer to “Stand up for kids!” to sponsor a child for a year of club membership.



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