A Dream Comes True!

by Alexis Ann

Cheryl Robdau and Roderick Desmarais of Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream.

So, here’s how this good news story developed.  Rob Valenti, Dealer Principal, Valenti Family Dealerships and Mystic YMCA board member, masterminds a collaborative raffle fundraiser with the Y and Aquarium.  First prize is a 2012 fully loaded Mustang convertible, bright red exterior with a black top… all shiny and sparkly!
Anyone’s dream, really, but a lifetime dream for John Willis, owner of Ray Willis Bike Shop, Westerly, founded by his father, Ray, some 60 years ago.
So, here’s how the story goes…John’s wife, Kathy, knows that her husband’s dream of owning a new Mustang convertible has been alive for years.  Matter of fact, ever since they’ve known each other, she was aware that John dreamed of owning one.  And, for whatever reason, John never indulged himself.

John and Kathy Hewes of The Mystic Boathouse.

“That’s just the way John Willis is,” she said.  “He would never buy his dream for himself.”  So, Kathy reads an ad in the paper advertising the fundraiser and she drives from Westerly to the Mystic Aquarium to purchase it. Here’s what she says to her hubby upon returning to the Bike Shop:
“Your dream is coming true, I am buying you that Mustang you’ve talked about since I’ve known you!  I just bought a ticket for $100, and it’s for a good cause as the net profit goes to benefit the Mystic YMCA and Aquarium.”
“I’m going to win!” she told John a month or so before the drawing, which took place last week during a friendly reception held at the Aquarium on the evening of Thursday, October 11.
The statistics show that there were 885 tickets sold. You figure the odds.

(l-r) Nancy Boardsen, Emma Bean, Harry Boardsen, Jr., Matthew Bean, and Julie Bean enjoyed the evening.

So when Rob Valenti called out the winning ticket number and name, the room was hushed, while all eyes scanned for some movement and a scream from the winner.  Silence.  Finally, Rob, with some disappointment, announced, “John Willis of Westerly isn’t here.” The crowd chuckled… they wanted an actual winner in the room to satisfy our anticipation.
While the raffle continued, Dan Reeve, Branch Director, Mystic YMCA, phoned John’s home but John and Kathy finished work a little later so they decided to skip the reception and walk over to an eatery in downtown Westerly for a pizza and a couple of beers.  John tells it this way… “When we arrived home, the answering machine was blinking, so I listened to the message… ‘Hi John, this is Dan Reeve, from the Mystic YMCA and I would like to thank you for your support by buying a raffle ticket for the Mustang drawing.’”  Then, there was a long pause, says John.  And, finally, “You are the lucky winner of the 2012 Ford Mustang!”
Needless to say, it was a sleepless night in the Willis household.  The excitement grew as they celebrated their winning!  John drove away from the Valenti Family Dealership in his dream car on Saturday morning with the top down, of course, as it was a “10” day!  Lucky Lucky Lucky!
And, advice for Kathy? She should  buy a lottery ticket!

Rob Valenti, Dealer Principal, Valenti Chevrolet in Mystic, congratulates 4th place winner Joe Kirby, former president, Washington Trust Company, on his newly acquired 60-inch LED 3D TV and home theater system.

(l-r) Bob Valenti Sr., June Valenti, and Rob Valenti with the 1st place prize, a 2012 Mustang GT California Edition. “We are so happy to participate,” says Rob, “and I thought it was a good idea to partner up.”


(l-r) Brian Gates, Marketing Director, Valenti Family Dealerships, Dan Reeve, Branch Director, Mystic YMCA, Susie Stritar, YMCA Board, Tom Sanford, Development Committee, and Mike Tirrell, Membership Director YMCA, with the 1st Prize, a 2012 Mustang GT California Edition.