On December 2nd, we hosted the first ever MVRA Casino Night. The night required the help and coordination of dozens of neighbors working with a common goal…and we couldn’t be more proud of how well the event went.
The concept began while a group of neighbors were playing a friendly card game. As often happens, a few libations led to many childish musings. This time, however, eureka! As most great ideas are simple, so was ours – bring a little financial relief to a local family living with cancer.
The path from idea to reality was long, especially for a bunch of middle-aged men who had no good ideas for how to move forward. When Val Haenn suggested the idea of a casino night, I knew there was a path forward, albeit a long path. So many people helped along the way and if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I would like tell you about them. I’m not telling you to boast; I’m telling you because in a world filled with 24/7-negative-if it bleeds it leads-partisan– news, I think it is important to know the real news is good news. Paul Doody, Tony Gutierrez, Pat Jones, Howard Harris, Pat McLaughlin, Jason Huhn, John McShane, Tom Haenn, Doug Davidson, Chris Mosher, Chip Muir, Chaz Keener, and Tom Matich ‘knocked on doors’ and solicited more than $2,000 in donations! Karen Romas then took those donations and transformed them into gorgeous gift baskets to be raffled off at the end of the evening.
What is a MVRA event without good food and boos? I ask sincerely because I don’t think I’ve attended a MVRA event that didn’t have both 🙂 Fortunately for us, Jim Murray, owner of Langhorne restaurant Tre Fratelli, lives in the neighborhood and as he often does, took care of ALL the food for the event! If you ever venture to his restaurant please make sure you say hello and thank him for all of his help. We were all fortunate that my friend, Matt Gleave (not in MV), allowed us to use his casino equipment– thank you. Matt is the owner of the Chalfont Rita’s Italian Ice – so if you’re in the area stop and say hello. We also received many monetary donations – as you read through the newsletter, please take a special note of the Casino Night sponsors.
All the fore mentioned effort was all in preparation of the event. The event itself ran smoothly because of the help from Kathy Gutierrez, Gina Villa, Kelli Chioffe, and Mandy Curtis (she’s the best!). The MVRA kids also stepped up big time helping to serve, clean, and pretty much do anything asked of them. Thank you to Marissa McShane, Brendon McShane, Maryn Mosher, Preston Jones, Delaney Jones, Sarah Letizia, and Jacob Letizia. My last thank you is to the Doody family who where ever present in the planning, preparation, clean-up, etc for the entire event. The event was a huge success – owed entirely to all the help of all that I mentioned and more.
This year, our first year, we honored our neighbor Mike Riotto who was diagnosed with Multimyeloma 5 years ago. If you are not familiar with Multi‐Myeloma it is a terminal blood cancer with no known cure. People who have this cancer often appear healthy for a time, but their entire bone structure gradually weakens over time and cannot recover. This cancer involves a complete commitment to a rigorous treatment and expensive drug regimen just to prolong your life.
Mike has served the neighborhood and the MVRA board for many years in every aspect. Mike has served as the Warwick County judge of elections for the past 10 years. He does a lot of work with Gilda club, a group named after Gilda Radner that helps families affected by cancer, helping other families who are living with cancer. When Mike was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, he decided to fight it with the energy he has devoted to all the community causes he has been involved with. For the last 5 years, he has organized a team to walk in the ‘Light the Night’ Bucks County walk that has raised tens of thousands of dollars to find cures for cancer.
We had more than 60 people attend Casino Night to honor the entire Riotto family. The main entertainment for the evening was the mini-casino that featured three Black Jack tables and one Roulette table. Although many of the attendees were not “gamblers” in the traditional sense, it didn’t take long before all four tables were jam-packed with players. So much of the success is attributed to awesome dealers (the same middle-aged poker players that dreamed up the idea to begin with) and one handsome pit boss.
I think I speak for everyone when I say it was a great time. We ate, we drank, we gambled, we toasted Mike Riotto, and the end, we raised more than $5,400. Thank you for all those that participated.