United Way of Northern New Mexico staff, United Way Youth Team members, volunteers, board members and Los Alamos Public School staff and administrators gather Sunday for the Dinner over Diamond fundraiser event. Typically set up on the walkover above Diamond Drive, due to rainy weather Saturday’s event moved into the Los Alamos High School gymnasium lobby. Clockwise from the left, UWNNM Board President Steve Boerigter, LAPS Superintendent Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, UWNNM Youth Team Member Maya Rogers, UWNNM Youth Team Mentor Morrie Pongratz, UWNNM Youth Team Members Josh Shevitz and Vince Marciano, UWNNM Executive Director Kristy Ortega, UWNNM Youth Team Members Amaya Coblentz and Sarah Crotzer, LAPS Teacher Kathy Boerigter and UWNNM Youth Team Member Beth Sharp. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
Dana Urbatsch, her brother Grafton and grandmother Jane Young dine on Bob’s Bodacious Barbecue during Sunday’s Dinner over Diamond fundraiser. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
Vince Marciano, a Los Alamos High School junior, is a veteran member of the United Way of Northern New Mexico Youth Team. As a member of the organization’s youth team for three years, Marciano has seen his fair share of Dinner of Diamond fundraisers; the event where diners are seated in the overpass over the street and are able to enjoy a meal in the open air.
Still, this year was the first time Marciano took the reigns as the fundraiser’s producer.
“It was a good experience,” he said, “and it was something to learn from for next year.”
Marciano and his fellow team members certainly learned how to deal with obstacles this year. An afternoon thunderstorm Sunday forced volunteers to relocate the dinner to the lobby of Griffith Gymnasium. Despite the weather and the last-minute venue change, it was estimated between 30-40 people showed up for dinner.
“People came out and ate,” UWNNM Executive Director Kristy Ortega said, adding that participants’ willingness to be adaptive to the sudden change in location was greatly appreciated.
Bob’s Bodacious Barbecue catered the event. Frank Good, co-owner of Bob’s Bodacious Barbecue, said that they had catered the fundraiser two years ago and were happy to do it again.
“The kids were extremely polite in 2014 and again this year. I was very happy with the type of kids who volunteered,” he said.
Marciano commented that this year’s event allowed him to come full circle in his time with United Way.
“I’ve done United Way for three years now and this is the first event I ever did so this is kind of like a flashback to the first event I ever participated in,” he said, adding that he liked “seeing people come out and enjoy dinner.”
The youth team is planning several other fundraisers as part of the United of Northern New Mexico’s annual fundraising campaign. The next event is Taste the Sky, 4-7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Los Alamos County Airport. Participants will be able to eat dinner provided by Secret City Kitchen amongst the hangars and airplanes.
Jacquie McCormick of Bob’s Bodacious Barbecue prepares a plate of food for United Way of Northern New Mexico Youth Team Member Cory Liechty. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
UWNNM Youth Team Member Natalie Aulwes with her brother Ethan who serenaded diners with his bagpipes. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
United Way of Northern New Mexico Youth Team members Claire Ticknor, left, Akane Dunn and Lexy Timmermans volunteer at Sunday’s fundraiser. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
Gary and Denise Liechty at Sunday’s Dinner over Diamond fundraiser. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
Bob Bodacious Barbecue Owners Frank Good and Pam Hushman feed a hungry crowd Sunday evening. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com