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SCV’s Gentlemen for a Cause

Posted: May 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Gentlemen for a Cause gather outside the Westridge clubhouse to wait their turn on the runway during the event held by Soroptimist International of SCV to benefit the Domestic Violence Center of SCV.

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It was an evening when the ladies shook their maracas, literally, to bid on the services offered by 20 of the Santa Clarita Valley’s most philanthropic gentlemen.

Gentlemen for a Cause, the inaugural fundraiser hosted by Soroptimist International of SCV to benefit the Domestic Violence Center of SCV, was held recently at the Westridge Clubhouse in Valencia.

Suzanne Stone and Lorraine Furden co-chaired the first-year event.

“We really want this to be a fun party,” Stone said. “We hope to raise lots of money and party all night long.”

The majority of the gentlemen who strode down the runway at the event offered professional services from drumming lessons to plumbing to storage units.

However, five of the men were bachelors who offered up dates which included dinner and the theater.

More than 120 event guests, mostly women, shook colorful maracas to get the attention of auctioneer George Lopez of J&M Entertainment.

The event raised more than $11,000 from the auction.

Several intense bidding wars erupted during the night. When two women bid for a date with Jim Walker, The Signal’s Escape editor, up past the $500 mark, a deal was struck whereby Walker would make himself available for a date with each lady.

Each of the women agreed to pay $500 for the date with Walker. Walker, dressed in a tuxedo and carrying a single red rose in a glass vase, said he was pleased and surprised he could raise $1,000.

“I am honored I was able to raise money for the Domestic Violence Center,” Walker said.

Another popular item on the auction block was a year of storage, a moving credit and a round of golf and lunch at Valencia Country Club courtesy Casey Kirkman, of AQMS MayFlower. After spirited bidding, the item fetched $1,000.

“We get involved with a lot of nonprofits, and we are happy to support it,” said Kirkman. “I couldn’t feel more strongly about the nonprofits in the SCV.”

Plumber Kirk Stinson earned $500 with his offer of four hours of “honey do” repair services.

“I can fix pretty much anything,” Stinson said. “I was happy to do this for the Domestic Violence Center, it’s a great cause.”

Dickey Beer, a stunt man, earned a total of $1,800 for thee “safari” tours for four.

Another popular item was a barbecue dinner party for 10 with Mike Smith. Two women each bought a $600 party, earning $1,200 for the cause.

Another, “two-fer” earned the Soroptimists more than $600 for the personal training services of John Devitt.

Devitt earned wild applause and intense maraca shaking when he appeared on the runway shirtless and demonstrated his workout regime with a kettle bell. It was a movement repeated, with shirts on and with imaginary kettle bells, by several of the other gentlemen who followed.

Paul Wieczorek, another bachelor up for auction, said he decided to participate because it was “outside the box.”

“I’ve been stuck in my comfort zone and this seemed like fun,” Wieczorek said. “I wasn’t nervous, but then I saw the runway.”

Linda Davies, executive director of the Domestic Violence Center, said she was pleased with the efforts of the Soroptimists.
“We are excited that the Soroptimists thought about benefiting the Domestic Violence Center,” Davies said.

Stone said it was a natural fit for the Soroptimist club to assist the Domestic Violence Center.

“The goal of Soroptimist is to help women and girls and when we talked to the Domestic Violence Center we realized that was the organization we wanted to raise funds for,” Stone said.

Pamela Braly, president of the board of directors of the Domestic Violence Center, said the support of other nonprofits is very important to the center.

“We are so thrilled that every woman’s organization in the SCV supports us,” Braly said. 

Other gentlemen who donated themselves and/or services to be auctioned were Joey Pool, Chalo Eduardo, Garo Papazian, Alexander Villar, DDS, Lenny Castillo, Joel Lambert, Jeff Gleckman, Dan Diaz, Rex Baumgartner, DDS, Ron White, John Scarano, David Stone and David Bruce.

At the end of the evening, Stone said she was “thrilled” with the success of the fundraiser.

“I am so thrilled that I can’t even put it into words,” said Stone. “The generosity of the people in this city is unbelievable.”

“We just raised a huge amount of money for the Domestic Violence Center,” Furden said. “Next year, we’re going to raise double the amount. This is going to become a huge, huge fundraising event.”

Soroptimist International of SCV is one of two Soroptimist clubs in the SCV. Soroptimist is an international organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and around the world.

For information about Soroptimist International of SCV visit www.siscv.com.

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