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  • Alpine to hold major benefit for West Fire survivors

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    An evening from the heart at the West Fire Benefit Dinner & Auction on Saturday, Aug. 18, will significantly support survivors of the July 6 Alpine blaze!

    The opportunity to help people and the prospect of great company, delicious food and exceptional auction items is already raising thousands of dollars to help dozens of families impacted by the roaring blaze.

    Celebrity TV weather reporter Shawn Styles of CBS Channel 8 has volunteered to be the master of ceremonies and auctioneer.

    “I think we all need to support this because we all face this wildfire threat every year,” said Linda Cioffi of the Alpine View Lodge at 973 Arnold Way.  “Alpine is such a target.”

    Flames destroyed 36 homes 29 other buildings in the foothills community in east San Diego County. Seventeen other residences were damaged.

    Presented by the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, the Alpine Community Center and the Alpine View Lodge, the family-friendly West Fire Benefit Dinner & Auction will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the community center, 1830 Alpine Blvd.

    “Wildfire is a continuing challenge for communities across the Western United States,” said Alpine Chamber Executive Director Jeff Morris. “It’s wonderful to see the support from the Alpine community and surrounding region. I think this will also generate momentum for future fire event and response preparations.”

    A committee from the three organizations is coordinating businesses, groups and individuals to make the fund raiser as helpful as possible for West Fire survivors.

    The Descanso Junction Restaurant is paying its staff to cater the dinner. The Alpine View Lodge will pay for the food. The Alpine Community Center is donating the venue and decorating it.

    “The Alpine Community Center Board is very pleased and honored to be involved and to offer our center for the event,” said Board President Louise Phipps.  “Most of our board members are long-time residents of Alpine and we have seen the catastrophe of fires.”

    Auction items include use of a villa in Mexico, a three-night stay at the Viejas Casino & Resort and admission to Lions Tigers & Bears.

    Already going fast, advance tickets are available at $40 each for adults and $15 each for children.

    Tickets at the door will be $50 and $25, respectively.

    Many businesses, organizations and individuals as well as people from throughout the region have already helped start the West Fire recovery in different ways.

    Checks made out to the Alpine Community Foundation  may be sent to or dropped off at the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce at 1620 Alpine Blvd., Ste. 208, or On Line Bookkeeping & Tax Service, 2065 Arnold Way, #103, both in Alpine, CA 91901, or at any California Bank & Trust location.

    “Alpine may be a small town, but it’s got a big heart,” said Cioffi, who still remembers how  people helped each other county-wide after the 2003 Cedar Fire blasted through towns and cities. “Even on the day of the West Fire, people were offering support for everything we needed.”