Sen. Blumenthal Attends Windsor CT Chamber of Commerce Anniversary Auction – Doubles Donation
Posted on April 5, 2014
Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb
United States Senator Richard Blumenthal charmed the “30 Years Windsor Chamber Cares” benefit auction Friday night, April 4, with humor and warmth. Addressing the event Blumenthal highlighted a special friendship he has forged, and then obliged a request from the crowd doubling his donation from not one, but to two breakfasts with him in Washington D.C.
Held at Maneeley’s in South Windsor, it was the 30th anniversary for the Windsor, Connecticut Chamber of Commerce annual auction, this year benefiting Send Hometown Windsor to the Troops, the Windsor Education Foundation, Windsor Art Center at the Freight House, and, the chamber itself. Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks, Anita Mips and auction organizer Bill Gombert greeted the senator at the door upon his arrival shortly after 7 p.m. Blumenthal had driven directly to the auction from Bradley International Airport having flown in to keep his promise to Gombert to attend.
“This is a wonderful cause and I’m glad to help this community that gives so much,” Blumenthal said during an interview.
Blumenthal was introduced by Trinks who spoke of the senior senator from Connecticut and former state attorney general as a champion of the people and of his commitment to social justice. Taking the podium, Blumenthal engaged the crowd and then called up his new friend, Matt Glad – an Eagle Scout, Windsor volunteer firefighter, Special Olympics Global Messenger and Athlete and Torch Run Ambassador.
“Whoever wins this breakfast tonight I’m inviting Matt to come too,” announced Blumenthal to applause.
Bidding got underway for the breakfast, the dollar amounts rose quickly and a bidding war ensued- going once, going twice, sold for $750 to Charlene Goulet! But it did not end there. From the audience came a shout – “Senator, would you donate a second breakfast for another $750?” Blumenthal smiled and nodded yes. The second breakfast went to bidder Joe Bowman. Each breakfast, for four, will include a tour of the senate offices and the Capitol – valued at, well, “priceless” according to the auction guide.
It was Gombert, who has run the WCofC auction for all thirty years, who invited the senator. Now retired, it was while working for Konica Minolta that Gombert began going to annual auctions held around Thanksgiving for the Housatonic Valley Water Authority in Washington, CT, frequently attended by Blumenthal.
“At this last one I said ‘Senator, may I have a moment of your time’,” recalled Gombert, “He was impressed with the groups the Windsor auction benefits and agreed to donate a breakfast.”
If his schedule allowed, Blumenthal also agreed to attend the auction. However, it wasn’t until Thursday, April 3 that he was able to confirm, according to Jane Garibay, executive director of the WCofC.
A new beneficiary of this year’s auction was Send Hometown Windsor to the Troops, a community service project of WIN-TV. Coordinated for more than ten years by Ann Walsh, the project has mailed care packages monthly to American military serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In need of postage money to keep the care packages on their way to Afghanistan, Walsh approached the chamber about adding SEND as a beneficiary. Among
the items secured to benefit SEND was an autographed baseball donated by the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.
The auction was presented by Windsor Federal Savings and Konica Minolta Business Solution with support from Griffin Land & Walgreens Distribution Center.