This story sorta snuck up on us -- and became one of the better Woodhaven stories of 2009.  It had been long known that the Woodhaven Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps was hurting financially.  And when the problems got worse, the WRHVAC reached out for help by having a fundraiser, and announced a Pasta Dinner.  We advertised it here on Project Woodhaven.  And the "media wing" of the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association sent out a press release, offering encouragement to the organization and asking for help:

“The Volunteer Ambulance Corps has long served the people of Woodhaven,” said WRBA President Vance Barbour.  “During these difficult times, it’s important to support organizations like this one, which has done so much.  The pasta night is a way to enjoy a great meal and support a great cause at the same time.”

On Friday, NY1 came to the offices of the WRHVAC and interviewed Chief Operating Officer Kathy Sexton-Dalby, whose mother and father were amongst the founders of the organization over 40 years ago.  Here's how that news report turned out:

That's great publicity!  Nothing could go wrong now, right?  But, wow, did it ever pour on Sunday.  Buckets of rain fell upon Woodhaven all day long -- truly a day that was made for staying home and watching Football.  But the residents of Woodhaven braved the bad weather and came out to repay 45 years worth of favors; they came out to support our Woodhaven Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

And they were rewarded with a wonderful selection of pasta and sauces -- and plenty of it!  And there were some meatballs, and lasagna, and all sorts of other delicious items. 

There were a number of tables around the room, almost all of them completely full -- so attendance was great.  People sat, talking and having fun, listening to music, waiting for the food.  And when the dinner bell rang, the line formed!

And the conversation and good times continued on the line as everyone patiently waited their turn to tuck in. 

There were a lot of kids in attendance and they all knew something good was waiting for them at the end of the line.  They were probably hoping for Santa :-)

After we ate for a bit, a few raffles were held -- giving away prizes generously donated by Boom-Boom Electronics (119-11 Liberty Avenue / 718-843-0049) -- and then we held the 50/50.  The way the 50/50 works, a bunch of tickets are sold, then a winning ticket is chosen and the winner splits the money 50/50 with the host.  Tonight they sold $380 in tickets, meaning the winner would get $190 and the Ambulance Corps would get $190.  The ticket was drawn, and the winner was our Assemblyman, Mike Miller

He approached the front and offered them a deal.  He was willing to donate the $190 back to the WRHVAC . . . but only if everyone else attending the party would match it!  A chance for the WRHVAC to turn $190 into close to 600 smackeroos! 

The volunteers worked the tables, but the money was being handed over willingly.  What a terrific, generous bunch of folks we had in Woodhaven this evening!  But . . . would they collect enough? 

Here's our video report on the evening -- we hope you enjoy:

That looked like a wonderful time, didn't it?  Remember that when you hear folks say that they walk down the streets of Woodhaven and they don't know anyone.  These folks know each other.  You need to get out there and get involved in order to meet people and make friends.  Sounds obvious, I know -- but it's a lesson that escaped me for many years.

I think you can tell by this picture that they managed to match the $190, and Assemblyman Miller donated his right back to the WRHVAC.  It was a real nice moment and we were fortunate to be there.  Here, the WRHVAC thanks Mike Miller and poses for a picture.  Thanks, Mike!

The End of Part 1.  Click Here To See Part 2 And See Who Else Attended! 

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