|Photo by David Stone
What would you do if you wanted to spend more time with your buddies from high school but things kept getting in your way—family commitments, travel, work? You could do what one group of Corona del Sol graduates did: Start a foundation to help others.
Members of the 1993 Aztec 5A State Championship baseball team did exactly that. They took their winning ways from the baseball field to create a foundation that could give back to their community.
East Valley Sol, a non-profit organization, was founded by members of this award-winning team and their spouses in 2006, originally to help a friend’s daughter who was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.
The group’s fundraising efforts were so successful in that startup year that they were able to write a $30,000 check to the Brooke Alden Cancer Fund.
After this initial effort, the organization continued broadening its work, all the time dedicated to impacting the lives of young people through philanthropic efforts, volunteerism and leadership to improve the overall quality of life for Kyrene Corridor families in need.
“We had all sort of gone our separate ways after high school,” said Tim Vasquez, a founding member.“ Several of us played collegiate baseball, and some even played professional ball for awhile. We had been extremely good friends in high school. It was sad let that all slip away.”
Fortunately for several needy individuals in the East Valley, the onetime teammates didn’t let their collective successes slip away but rather found a way to be active with each other while at the same time dedicated to another winning effort to bring their community together to help young people.
A subsequent event, East Valley Sol’s Second Annual Fiesta Del Sol, was challenging but once again highly successful.
Some 30 sponsor signs lining the fences of Tempe Diablo Stadium greeted more than 400 guests who tried their luck at 15 blackjack tables and three craps tables, a silent auction and raffle featuring a 50-inch LCD TV, Lazy Boy recliners, a Ninendo Wii with over 50 items total, and a live auction highlighting a trip to Hawaii, VIP Suns Package tickets, an autographed Phil Mickelson Master’s flag and an adorable puppy.
Another one of those great get-togethers will be held this year on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Now in its third running, the Third Annual Fiesta del Sol presented by Somburro’s Mexican Food fundraiser will be held again at Tempe Diablo Stadium from 6 p.m. until closing. The event will consist of music, raffles, food, drinks, casino gaming and auctions, proceeds from which will benefit East Valley Sol Charities.
For the past several years, East Valley Sol has spent countless hours searching for individuals who needed help because some unfortunate events had left them in dire need of assistance.
They found themselves drawn to children in need because, Vasquez says, they epitomize the heart and spirit of a fighter.
Even with their backs against the ropes and the challenges seeming too great to ever overcome, these young people continued fighting.
Two such individuals are Santana Black and Luke Gauman, both casualties of accidents that left them severely injured but who continue to battle in order to overcome the challenges life has handed them. Brooke Alden and Abby Fraser have also received assistance to wage war against their childhood cancer.
More young people who have received support from East Valley Sol fundraisers, including several Little League teams, can be found on the organization’s website at http://www.eastvalleysol.org.
Founding members Tim and Julie Vasquez, Shawn and Nikki Morris, Jared and April Conti, Ken and Shawna Reeves, Brian and JJ Reid and Buck and Sara Bandura hope they’ll be able to generate wide support for the event to lend to the effort.
New members Nick and Danielle Farrer, Steve and Jamie LeVine, Bryan and Debbie Dell ‘Amico and Tom and Karen Dunham also are seeking sponsors and donated items for this Fiesta del Sol III event.
Prospective donors can contact any of these members personally or by calling (602) 325-8216. It’s also possible to email firstname.lastname@example.org. or Tim Vasquez at email@example.com.
Fiesta del Sol III will be hosted and catered by Someburro’s. Tickets are $35 for a single or $50 for two, but there are several other options for attending, including sponsorships.
You must be 21 and over and registered to attend. You can sign up by contacting any of the members or register and pay online through the organization’s secure Credit Card Processing Site at http://www.eastvalleysol.org/Pages/FDS2-REG-open.htm.
Oh, just so you know, the 1993 Aztec baseball team has been the only Corona team so far to win the state championship. It boasted a record of 24-9-1. Members of the 1993 CdS team may also have been on the 1991 team, the only time Corona came in as runner up in the state tournament.