Troy's Take: An Enjoyable Night at the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce's Annual 10K Raffle

Troy ClarksonAmy Rader Photographer - Troy Clarkson

The Falmouth Chamber of Commerce is much more than a business development and promotional organization. Its members and employees represent the heart of our community. From civic volunteers and nonprofit advocates, to Town Meeting members and local government pillars, the people who make the chamber run so well and our business community so fruitful and diverse are the same colorful individuals who make Falmouth a community.

I had the good fortune last week to laugh, chat, eat, reminisce, joke, plan, and visit with dozens of members and supporters of the chamber at its annual $10,000 raffle and fundraiser. I didn’t win, but did earn precious and priceless memories of one of the more enjoyable evenings I’ve spent in a long time. 

I was greeted warmly by chamber stalwarts Maura Aldrich and Susan Zavala, both of whom radiated a welcoming presence and offered a genuine smile. As I entered the ballroom at Bill Zammer’s Coonamessett Inn, I was again greeted with a grin, this one from Bill’s go-to-guy at the Coony, David Schneider. As always, the room was full of enticing culinary aromas wafting through the sociable throngs. It was great to catch up with dapperly dressed barrister Dick Piazza and hear about his grandchildren. I guffawed while sharing a story of some hijinks during our old Town Meeting days with former finance committee chairman Bill Smith. Speaking of the fincom, no public event where the Falmouth community is celebrated would be complete without a hello from Falmouth’s favorite gregarious gadfly, Andy Dufresne. I was grateful to share a hug and a hello with old friend and skilled photo maven Amy Rader, while hearing the latest good news from tireless volunteer Jim Vieira.

As Donna joined me and began to share her own radiance with some of her new-found Falmouth friends, I offered a salutation to local legend Rich Sherman. As I smiled broadly at some reminiscences with trusted financier Ron Garcia, I noted to Rich that we would join him at his table in a few minutes, as soon as I waded through the room. I finally sat down and caught up on the latest great news about the Carousel of Light with Rich an hour later, as each step through the room brought an opportunity to catch another brightly shining tile of Falmouth’s colorful mosaic.

The unforgettable laugh and wide smile of selectman Kevin Murphy are always a welcome sight in any venue, and were indeed during this twilight fete that celebrated Falmouth. I enjoyed a sip of my club soda while toasting the evening with Main Street mainstays Naimesh and Akku Patel, and heard tales of golfing prowess from Rotarians John Vidal and Don Hoffer. Dave (Wave) Costa always adds an effusive and humorous accent to any evening, and lived up to his dazzling reputation, lighting up the room. As I checked in with Police Chief Ed Dunne and soaked in the enthusiasm and admiration he has for his new post as Falmouth’s top cop, I enjoyed a brief chat with the always-smiling duo of Christine and Jay Fortin. A tap on my shoulder was followed by a welcome embrace from Palanza family matriarch Susie, while simultaneously exchanging a warm wink with police veteran Bill McManamin. 

Town manager Julian Suso attended as an apt ambassador of Falmouth Town Hall, and locally renowned teacher Jim Kalperis showed why he is still beloved, working the room like a pro. Enterprise lynchpins Chuck Borge and Don Parkinson surveyed the good news and shared a table with everyone’s favorite deejay, Cheryl Atherton. I concluded that youthful and respected restaurateur Dave Jarvis does not age as we exchanged greetings, and reached a similar conclusion regarding our local crustacean magnate, Clam Man Matt Rocheleau. 

I clutched my raffle receipt, feeling like Charlie Bucket, convinced that insurance expert Davidson Calfee had sold me a golden ticket. Alas, I did not win, but nothing could dampen the spirit of this evening. As the winner was announced, a loud roar emerged in the room. Laura Lorusso Peterson is ably following in the footsteps of her legendary parents when it comes to commitment to the Falmouth community. After Laura’s raffle victory, I noticed that despite not winning, old neighbor Kevin Griffin was delivering smiles everywhere. Consummate caterer Sean Dailey followed suit, demonstrating a grateful gleam in his eye. The Falmouth good feelings were palpable at this celebration of people who define our local flavor, including flavor favorites Marc and Cindy Cilfone.

Donna and I eventually made our way into Eli’s for a long-overdue dinner with lifelong friend and North Falmouth School chief Karen Karson. As Karen and I recounted, embellished and narrated memories with Donna, I sat back in my chair, closed my eyes, and let out a sigh of gratitude, followed by a robust and lasting smile. This was a fantastic Falmouth evening, celebrating a fantastic Falmouth community.

Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at votetroy99@aol.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.

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