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Dinner to benefit WNCC sports

TERI VANCE

The bases are loaded, everything is in place, now Helaine Jesse hopes to hit one out of the park Wednesday evening.

And with Steve Garvey on her side, the odds are good.

Jesse, vice president of institutional advancement for Western Nevada Community College, is planning “An Evening with Steve Garvey” to raise money for the college’s new sports programs.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s exciting,” Jesse said. “You don’t have to be a big college to get a big name.”

Officials are working to establish the first-ever sports teams at WNCC. Men’s baseball should start in the fall and women’s soccer is scheduled to start the following spring. They will add to the rodeo team which formed in 2002.

The state does not provide funding for community college sports, so raising money to establish the teams is left up to Jesse.

And she’s no novice. It was Jesse who secured astronaut Buzz Aldrin to help raise money for the Jack C. Davis Observatory in April 2001.

“It’s because of Buzz Aldrin that we know we can do this,” she said. “Look at what he did for the observatory. That’s what Steve Garvey is doing for sports. He’s already done it.”

The evening with the former baseball great, Garvey, will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Carson City Community Center. It will feature a live auction, silent auction and a dime auction.

Garvey’s presentation will begin at 8 p.m. followed by a question-and-answer session at 8:30 p.m.

The auction will include a variety of items ranging from professional baseball tickets, a saddle and sports baskets as well as more than 30 door prizes.

Every ticket holder will receive a $40 gift certificate for dinner at Thunder Canyon.

Jesse said once the funding is secure, it will not be difficult to find players for the teams. She said several high school students have already expressed interest.

According to Nevada Prep.com, 651 Nevada high school graduates went on to play sports in college in 2002. Baseball has 143 Nevada participants – 13 in state and 130 out of state. Forty-three of those are at four-year schools and 87 are at community colleges.

“This will really give them the opportunity to stay in-state and use their Millennium Scholarships and play,” Jesse said.

And Garvey will help make it a home run.

“Apparently he’s a very good speaker,” Jesse said. “Very motivational, articulate – along with being very good looking.”

Contact Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or at 881-1272.