There were lots of Bill and Dale Raggio stories being told at John Ascuaga's Nugget Friday night. The Raggios received the Hope Award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society, and lots of old friends came out to show their support. Reno Mayor Bob Cashell stole the show during a video tribute, as he seemingly searched for positive words to describe Senator Raggio.
The moment of the night came when Cashell auctioned off a $135 check given to him by Bill Raggio two years ago. The check sold for a $1300 donation to M.S.– purchased by Bob Cashell's wife, Nancy. As for the Mayor he feigned anger saying, "What was she thinking? I had a thousand dollars from a guy in the back!"
The video tribute included interviews with Senator Randolph Townsend, Skip Avansino– who is Bill Raggio's cousin, and others. A sample: Skip Avansino remembers working with Raggio on the family farm on Huffaker. "Actually, some of us worked, Bill drove the tractor," he said.
Another funny Raggio story that didn't make the video is told by Randolph Townsend who says that, when dining at a fine restaurant, Bill Raggio would often tell the waiter or waitress that he wasn't very hungry and "could he have only 20-percent of the night's special?" According to to Townsend, that resulted in some very confused waiters. We're told Raggio always 'fessed up and admitted it was a joke… before the waiter went to find the manager.
Bill's daughter, Tracy Chew and her family were there, as were John and Rose Ascuaga, who hosted the event at the Nugget. Joe Hart did a great job as co-emcee along with Mike Houghton and Norm Dianda. Brent Boynton and I played a very small role as hosts of the video tribute.
Linda Lott, Regional Manager of the local M.S. chapter, told me the evening raised more than 70 thousand dollars for research, and services for people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. That's not including the silent auction and what people gave during the dinner itself. Just shows that, even in tough times, people in northern Nevada know how to get it done.