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Telethon puts live into live auction
The highest bidder at the Nov. 23-24 Boys & Girls Club Telethon will get a double date package with Manteca Fire Department Captain Dave Marques, left, and firefighter John Viss. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Got a spouse or a special someone you want to serenade with songs of the season?

Perhaps you have a holiday party coming up that you’d like to have Christmas carols sang for your gathering of family and friends.

Whatever the case, you can bid on the services of the Manteca Youth Focus to bring you holiday cheer during the upcoming Manteca Boys & Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop Telethon taking place Monday, Nov. 23, and Tuesday, Nov. 24.

It is one of several unique auction items that literally puts the “live’ in live auction.

You can also bid on a dinner and wine tasting with the Indelictaos – Manteca’s first family of wine. Not only are they world-class winemakers but family meals are on par with their wines.

If you’re looking to support kids and have an upcoming birthday for a child you want to be unique, you can bid on having use of the entire Boys & Girls Club building for a Saturday birthday party including gym and games room.

Also up on the live auction is a two-minute shopping spree at Grocery Outlet.

For those who want to enjoy interesting conversation, it would be tough to beat a ride-along with a Manteca Refuse Division garbage truck driver.

And if you have a desire to sharpen your golf game – or want to start golfing – you can also secure lessons with a Manteca Golf Course professional.

You can also get a family snow fun package at Dell’Osso Farms in Lathrop on the snow hill that includes other attractions at the new Holiday on the Farms that opens later this month.

Another bid item that is attracting a lot of early attention is a double date firefighter package featuring Manteca Fire Department’s two most eligible bachelors – Captain Dave Marques and firefighter John Viss.

Marques once graced Oxygen women’s exercise magazine’s firefighter calendar as Mr. December.

Viss was the cover boy for an edition of Surfing Magazine.

Marques, 37, is 5-foot-8, weighs 180 pounds, has blue eyes, and brown hair. He has been a part of the Manteca Fire Department for 18 years and now serves as a captain.

His idea of a perfect setting for a date is going to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Viss, 27, is 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds with blue eyes and blonde hair. He works as a firefighter.

His hobbies include surfing, hiking, and physical fitness.

His idea of a perfect setting for a first date is going to the ocean.

The live auction is part of a two-day event that includes a silent auction, pledges, and entertainment. It is carried live over Comcast Cable 97 Monday, Nov. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m., and Tuesday, Nov. 24, from 4:30 to 11 p.m.

Changes in live
auction procedures

The live auction will be a bit different this year. As always, you can bid on all items starting that Monday.

This year, though, people who are interested in the auction are encouraged to go down to the club. They will be able to inspect the items up close and to also see the main part of the telethon being carried live in the games room. There also will be bleacher seating available.

Then at 9 p.m., bidders have the option of having a seat at tables as the final round of bidding starts or else stay at home and bid via phone. This way they can bid in person if they wish.

This year’s goal is
to raise $125,000

The goal is to raise $120,000 to help finance supervision and programs for club members.

The non-profit counts on the telethon each year to provide roughly 25 percent of the funds they need to run a site in Manteca and Lathrop. The Manteca site is open school days from 3 to 8 p.m. at the main site at 545 W. Alameda Street and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on school holidays.

The rough economy has generated an ever bigger attendance as parents struggling to make ends meet with reduced pay and shorter hours are dropping babysitting and child care that they can no longer afford and are using the club as a safe haven for their kids while they are away from home working.

Individuals who would like to assist with pledge phones are asked to call the club at 239-KIDS.

The strategy this year is to see if people can spare at least $10 given the economy has hit those who have traditionally been major donors hard including new home construction, dairy farming, and auto sales.

The club just doubled their membership fee to $24 – the first jump in more than 14 years.

The Boys & Girls Club offers a year’s worth of karate lessons, play in flag football and basketball leagues, have a safe place to hang out after school until as late as 8 p.m. with friends, play and do your homework for one monthly fee that is kept a slow as possible to make sure the kids who need a safe haven can afford it.

The $24 fee also includes Boys &Girls Club T-shirt. There is a break for families that have more than two children that would cost $48. After that, each additional child is $12 a year.

The club offers homework assistance, computers for doing school work, and various character building programs. It also offers a variety of recreation games, sports leagues, arts classes, or simply a safe place to spend time with friends.

For more information, call the club at 239-KIDS.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail