August 9th, 2008 about 6pm... Monterey Convention Center
Fantastic food from two of Big Sur's best chefs, a live auction, a silent auction, wonderful wine from the likes of Talbott, Pessagno and others, nine hosted bars, and Big Sur PuertoRiqueño music were the hallmarks of last night's Neighbor to Neighbor Big Sur Fire Relief Gala.
I'm not quite sure exactly how much money was raised, but a guess would be in the neighborhood of a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
Big Sur Volunteer Fire Fighter Toby Rowland Jones (far-right in the picture to the right), of Partington Ridge, offered for auction dinner for 6 at his home. Toby, who stayed with a number of others to fight the flames face to face, was floored when the winning bidder raised his hand at $9,000.
It was such a successful and amazing moment, that, shortly thereafter Toby - always fast on his feet - made a unscheduled auction offer of dinner for four at his home, which netted about $3500.
Toby, hide the Spaghetti-O's, dude...
As the event wore on, an people were treated to poignant video of those who stayed to defend their homes, complete with Johnny Cash singing Tom Petty's "I won't Back Down."
I had the chance to catch up with the host of the event, 5th District Monterey County Supervisor Dave Potter. He was gracious enough to chat with me about where things might go from here, now that the Basin Complex fire is behind us.
You can listen to the audio by clicking HERE.