Suffolk Community College Foundation’s 2015 Salute to Excellence Gala & Maserati of Long Island – A Raffle Winner’s Story
Written by Bill Harney, Keeping Current Matters 3/10/2016
The story starts when my team and I attended the 2015 Salute to Excellence Gala in support of our dear friend Greg Garritano. During dinner, some of the event representatives were selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a weekend with a Maserati (courtesy of Maserati of Long Island). At our table, we joked about how cool it would be to cruise down the Expressway with our hair blowing in the wind, driving around in this super car. A few of us decided to buy some tickets, but my father – always the one to make a splash – decided to buy a large roll of tickets. He knew it was going to a great cause and figured “what the heck.”
As the event was going on, and we had these raffle tickets in front of us, we all started talking about a very special 11 year old. He’s the son of one of our team members, and the nephew of one of our leaders. And he’s got Type 1 Diabetes and is one of the strongest people I know. He loves racing cars (he competes at the race tracks out east) and he doesn’t let anyone tell him he “can’t” do something… especially his mother 🙂 At some point during the dinner, we all decided that if any of us win the raffle prize, we would somehow give this awesome experience to Harley… he’d enjoy it more than anyone else!
Well, this story wouldn’t be very entertaining without this part I guess. When the raffle was being announced, we all had our tickets in front of us. Nobody expected to win. There were hundreds of people at this event and we only had a tiny fraction of the tickets. But then it happened. They started calling out the numbers and they matched everyone on my ticket. I was mortified… but in a good way. I knew that it would be a scene to officially accept the prize and I’m not the type to want the spotlight. But as I walked up to accept the prize, I remembered Harley and a sudden calm came over me. Then excitement. I knew that this little guy, who gives me a lot of inspiration, was going to have a great time. And I knew his mom and dad would be super excited as well. That feeling was totally worth the pseudo-embarrassment of having hundreds of people stand, clap and then stare at me while I sat in this $100,000+ car.
When we got back to the office the next day, we let his mom know what had happened and that we wanted to give the prize to Harley. She was floored. You see, one of the other reasons we knew it would be awesome for Harley to be the “front man” for this prize is he’s an official ambassador for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation… at 11 years old. This kid is amazing!
And I’m attaching a picture here of Harley and is younger sister Rachel getting ready to go out in the Maserati (and no, Harley wasn’t able to drive, but he did have an awesome time).
Join the Suffolk Community College Foundation Salute to Excellence GalaThursday, May 5, 2016 at Hilton Long Island-Huntington www.sunysuffolk.edu/gala