The names on the list read like a Who's Who of historic far East County: Dwelly, Simoni, Stonebarger, Ghillarducci, Kemp, Byer, Ghiggeri, Zamora and DeJesus. They are farmers, merchants, educators and citizens of the year, and they're some of the people who helped forge the community into what it is today.
And while the contributions they've made are many and varied, the list is one place you can find all of them together. It's the roll of people who have been Liberty High School Athletic Boosters Truck Raffle ticket holders for more than 20 years.
I'd buy a ticket even if they weren't giving away a truck, said Sharon DeJesus who, along with husband Earnie, has been involved in the raffle since it began in 1980. There's not one thing I can really say is the reason why. Our family is involved in a lot of sports, but there's also the Liberty tradition, which is more than 100 years old. I want to help keep it going.
Boosters President Mark Stone said that the proceeds of the raffle, which go toward helping provide athletic facilities at the school, are more important than ever. The campus has a new gymnasium and newly refurbished football field and track, but there are still lots of things that need to be done.
There are 19 different sports programs at Liberty, said Stone. The new (facilities) are great, but there are a lot of things missing, and that's the reason we're raising money.
A recent tour of the facilities showed undulating playing fields, a vandalized trailer that serves as the snack bar, decrepit and inadequate restrooms at the football stadium, and a varsity baseball field with no outfield fence the only such field in the league, according to varsity baseball coach Greg Borland.
I'd like to see Liberty have a field equal to Heritage and Freedom, said Borland, referring to the newer schools in the Liberty Union High School District. The district has always been behind me with whatever I need the best they can, but their hands are tied, to a certain extent.
Stone said, although, that the Boosters' contributions (about $40,000 per year) can't solve all the problems, providing additional money that the school board can use to make at least some improvements is especially important now. Not only are budgets tight due to the economy, but Liberty will host three big events this football season: Home games against Heritage and Freedom, plus the annual Homecoming spectacle.
While other school might have nicer facilities, one thing they can't match is the century-old history of Liberty as a school, and as an important part of the community.
The school has been the focal point of a lot of peoples' family activities, said Mark Dwelly, a raffle participant for 23 years. People have bonded, either through athletics or things like the music and theater programs, and formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime.
Like DeJesus, Dwelley said the raffle is about far more than a truck. In addition to supporting athletics, the dinner at which the drawing takes place is a great social event, a chance to get together with a lot of great people at a very, very fun event.
Stone said the social and monetary aspects of the Boosters efforts are important, but so is the continuation of the way people feel about the school.
There's a lot of pride in this school, he said. People are still involved, even if their kids no longer go here. You come to games, and the stands are full. Sometimes there are more Liberty people at away games than the home team has. I'd like to continue that pride by helping supply facilities that are up to par with other schools.
We're not saying the district is doing anything wrong, but as time goes on, things deteriorate more and more, and they just can't do anything right now. We'd like to see people have the same pride that (the long-time residents of the raffle list) have.
Only 125 of the $275 tickets are sold each year for the raffle, the prize for which is a new Ford Ranger pickup from Bill Brandt Ford or $10,000 in cash. The tickets include dinner (catered by Brentwood Fine Meats) and a gift basket on drawing night Sept. 6 this year as well as free admission to all Liberty sporting events for the year.
In past years, there has been a waiting list to buy tickets. The result, Stone said, is that people who know about the raffle assume they can't get a ticket, while others simply haven't heard about it. This year, however, there are a few tickets available, and if demand exceeds the supply, the waiting list will begin again.
To purchase a ticket, or learn more about the raffle or the Boosters' Nov. 2 golf tournament call Stone at 925-858-1418 and carry on the Liberty tradition. Said Borland, Let's make it another good 100 years.