Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Millim Family/Creation Nation Raffle Winners...and a Howl of Fame!

Lisa's husband, John (left), your friendly neighborhood meathead/Howler (center), and Lisa Millim (right)
Hey, when you pose with fighters, the fist move is the pose, right?  

Yesterday, while most folks in the boxing media were gearing up for the HBO doubleheader featuring Saul Alvarez vs. Matthew Hatton and Adrien Broner vs. Daniel Ponce de Leon, I was preparing for a different kind of event (Hey, I can catch the fights anytime I want. This is the internet, right?).

As you know, the Creation Nation has been selling raffle chances for a shot at winning an original acrylic painting commission by me, a custom-painted glove by my partner-in-crime (and official Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame artist), Chris Guzman, an original watercolor painting I did for the cover of Pat Dwyer’s Professional Boxing in the 1980s: a Look Back and autographed credential passes, with all profits going to a friend of our family, Lisa Millim. Lisa has been battling metastatic cancer and her family has been bravely battling alongside her. Money has been extremely tight and she’s had to forfeit vital medication in order to help put food on the table and pay the bills.

Last night, however, the weight lifted a little as Lisa’s fundraiser kicked off in Sandwich, a few towns away from our pad in Montgomery. The overall goal was to raise $10,000 for Lisa and her family and as my wife, Debbie, and I walked into the community hall where the benefit was staged, we could see right off the bat that with all the insane raffle opportunities and all the folks who came out, that goal was certainly attainable.

Upon entering the venue, Lisa’s husband (and a childhood friend of mine), John, greeted me with a big smile and a welcome handshake. Just as energetically as he greeted me, he resumed work at the big ticket raffle table. If his gratitude and happiness didn’t send the message that this day was going to be great, Lisa and her sister Aleta certainly did with their warm greetings. Chatting aside, they went back to work as well, greeting more guests, placing raffle items on tables and working on keeping things in order and making sure everyone in attendance was well taken care of.

The Fox Valley Older Adults Banquet Room was packed with Lisa’s friends and relatives who were getting to know each other or just catching up. The $2 beers and $3 mixers were flowing and guests were milling about to examine the variety of raffle prizes available. Chow was abundant with a picnic-style spread, replete with hotdogs, fried chicken, beef, ham, salad, chips, sodas and desserts. If you went hungry, hey, there must’ve been a problem. And the trays laden with Jell-O shots didn’t hurt either.

I got to meet folks who were not just important in Lisa’s life but in Debbie’s life as well and reconnected with old friends I used to work with as far back as high school. Not a bad time was had; guests won great prizes (we scored some GREAT stuff!) and not a soul in the joint wasn’t there to support Lisa, who was just everywhere all at once.

And you know what? She looked great; maybe a speck tired but who wouldn’t be in the midst of such bustling excitement? If you ask me, I think cancer had to actually take off a round or two (I haven’t seen the replay yet but I’ll bet she scored some good left hook knockdowns).

Originally, I was going to make the announcement for my raffle winners over the P.A. during the benefit and have Lisa, the raffle’s good luck charm, do the drawing of the names. However, I asked her to come draw them at our table and we’d record them together. It just seemed like the thing to do. I didn’t want to put myself in a spotlight when the night was about Lisa’s fight. That said…here are the big winners!

Fifth prize: a credential pass from the Fernando Vargas-Javier Castillejo fight  in Chicago (from August 20, 2005), signed by Vargas. Winner: Jesse Tamayo!

Fourth prize: a credential pass from the Lamon Brewster-Andrew Golota fight in Chicago (from May 21, 2005), signed by veteran cutman Jacob "Stitch" Duran, HBO's Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant, former heavyweight titlist Lamon Brewster and former Undisputed Welterweight Champion Cory Spinks. Winner: Larry Dickson!

Third prize: a credential pass from the Hasim Rahman-Monte Barrett fight in Chicago (from August 13, 2005), signed by former World Heavyweight Champion George Foreman, former heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd, Matt Zegan, Fres Oquendo, Barrett and commentators Rich Marotta and Barry Tompkins. Winner: Genaro and Noralisa Mendez!

Second prize (first drawing): an original watercolor painting of Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney, done for the second printing of Pat Dwyer’s book Professional Boxing in the 1980's. A Look Back. Winner: Jane Renzi!

Second prize: (second drawing): a custom painted boxing glove of any subject of the ticket winner's choosing, courtesy of Chris Guzman. Guzman is a member of the League of Visual Excellence as well as the official artist of the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame in Belfast, New York. The glove has become the signature canvas for Mr. Guzman because it's fun, portable and represents his subjects- in one way or another- have fought to get where they are today. Winner: Tawney Becker and Boyce Bergfeld!

First prize: an original 16” X 20” acrylic painting on canvas panel by Yours Truly of ANY subject (up to two subjects in said painting). Winner: Kevin Blatt of the “OnTheGrind” group!

*To all the winners, I'll be in contact with you all in the next few days to discuss getting your prizes out to you!*

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much was raised in the Creation Nation’s effort toward the overall goal. Thanks to your kindness, this raffle raised $800. Every $5 increment was humbly and well-appreciated. And even if you didn’t win one of the prizes, you all deserve a vote of thanks and a mention here in the blog as a “Howling Hero.” Without further ado, I’d like to take the time to thank you all here in what I call my “Howl of Fame.”

Tawney Becker and Boyce Bergfeld, Rita Figueroa, Dave Wilcox, Ex Alba, Steven Arredondo, Brian Ellis, Kevin Blatt (OTG), Trayce Zimmerman, The Slone Group, Jorge Casillas, Kris Tims, Mike Leanardi (PCB), Joseph Torres, Jane Renzi, Kerstin Broockmann, Long Ngatia, Jesse Tamayo, Jonathan Malave, Rachel Smith and Ben Saunders, Alice McKinney, Aleta Bumbar, Chris Guzman, Angi Guzman, John Raspanti, Luis Barrientos, Genaro and Noralisa Mendez, Allan Scotto, Larry Dickson, Erica Dillenburg, Casey Nascarella, David Walsh, James and Joyce Bell, Rene Castillo Jr., Greg and Clare Patterson, Terri Reiter

Once again, thank you all so much for your help, efforts, thoughts, prayers and personal stories. There are two things that can be gleaned from this experience, if you don’t consider them already on a daily basis. One, cancer truly is just a word and not a sentence. I saw this in Lisa, John, Aleta, Aleta’s husband, Allen, and the flood of loved ones, well-wishers and guests in attendance last night. I saw that fighting spirit that the greatest of all warriors possesses when he or she steps into a squared circle, knowing not the degree of punishment in store.

Two, if there are people in need, find a way to help them. You don’t have to be rich. You just have to care. And if you have a talent, a gift or a name, use it and reach out.

It’s one of the best things you could ever do.

No comments:

Post a Comment