Celebrity auction enjoys another great turnout

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2001

NATCHEZ – Several hundred people turned out at Monmouth Plantation Tuesday night for the second annual Celebrity Gala and Auction to benefit the Natchez Children’s home.

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski, Major League baseball umpire Joe West and recording artist Steve Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers were also on hand to lend their support and status to the ever-progressing movement to raise needed funds for the home. &uot;I just love hearing about local efforts of somebody like Nancy (Hungerford) and all that she and others are doing,&uot; Bartkowski, a visitor to Natchez for the second straight year, said. &uot;These people are the real heroes. You read about the ones in the sports pages, but we’re nothing compared to people like her and what’s happening right here in Natchez with the children’s home.&uot; And for any enthusiast of signed sports memorabilia, Tuesday night was a jackpot. The reception area was adorned with a plethora of all sorts of valued baseballs, footballs and basketballs, signed by various stars of the sporting world, many of whom are now a part of the Celebrity Golfers Association, which plays a key role in the fundraiser. &uot;This place feels like home to me,&uot; Bartkowski, who still lives in Atlanta, said. &uot;There’s a piece of me that lives here. As special and as southern Atlanta is, this is really where it’s at.&uot; The former qb said to see the joy on the kids faces makes trips like these worthwhile. &uot;My boys are 20 and 17 now, and I would like for them just to see the joy on these kids faces, when you just spend some time with them and show them some affection, not necessarily giving them anything. It does my heart good to be a part of this.&uot; Natchez native Finley Trosclair, director of marketing for the Celebrity Golf Association, has been paramount in getting CGA players to Natchez for events such as these. &uot;Natchez is the greatest city in America,&uot; he gushed. &uot;I’ve always said I wanted to give back to the community and the Natchez Children’s home is near and dear to my heart. Our whole philosophy with celebrity golf and functions like these are all for the kids. It may be kids in Detroit, kids in Atlanta or Fort Myers, but everything we do is for the kids.&uot; Trosclair said the fundraiser is an event they are building on and hope to make bigger and better each year.

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