Proceeds from Nov. 5 event will benefit AASD project SOAR
The Doug West Endowment Fund will hold its inaugural Reverse Dinner and Drawing Nov. 5 at the United Veterans Association Club in Altoona.
The fund was established earlier this year by Altoona Area High School graduates Doug West, class of 1985, and Carrie Coppola McNamara, a 1984 AAHS graduate. The fund's earnings are specifically designated to benefit the Altoona Area School District's Project SOAR - Study, Overcome, Achieve, Reward. The program is designed to assist students who demonstrate the skills and potential, but lack the means to attain a degree beyond a high school diploma. Students will be targeted in junior high and begin taking part in after school activities through high school to better prepare them for post secondary opportunities. Each student will sign a contract and be assigned a mentor. The first group of SOAR students will be graduating from AAHS in 2013. While most will earn scholarships, The Doug West Endowment Fund wants to ensure that every child in the program achieves their dreams.
"I am so happy to be affiliated with Project SOAR and the Altoona Area School District, where I was once a student," West said. "Giving kids an opportunity to take their education to the next level is so important for their development in life. I can't wait to see the faces on the first class when their day comes."
In 1985, West broke the AAHS school record for most points scored in three years with a total of 1,607. He attended Villanova University, where he became one of the most prolific scorers in the school's history. He currently ranks fifth on Villanova's all-time scoring list totaling 2,037 points from 1985 to 1989. West was selected in the second round of the NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He became a regular starter for the Timberwolves, and in the 1991-92 season appeared in the Gatorade Slam Dunk Championship and earned Timberwolves' Defensive Player of the Year honors. He averaged a career high 19.3 points per game, and in 1995, he broke Tony Campbell's team-record 4,888 points to become the Timberwolves' all-time leading scorer. He holds numerous individual career records for the Timberwolves, including fourth for total points with 6,216. Following the 1998 season, he was traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies, where he played until his retirement in 2001. West is in the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame.
The Reverse Drawing and Dinner will be the first fundraising event held in the Altoona area for The Doug West Endowment Fund. West will be in attendance for the evening, which will include a chance to win $5,000. A silent auction is also being held with sports-related items such as an original West Timberwolves autographed jersey worn during his 1997-98 season. A Blair County committee has been formed, led by Bill Young. Committee members include Becky Fagley Young, Joe Sheetz, Phil Riccio, Tom Hite, Stephanie Lantz Riggio, Val Mignogna, Bill Thompson, Dana Thompson, Steve Augustine and Michael McNamara. "I can't believe how the Doug West Fund has grown from Doug and I, sitting in a restaurant in Villanova, plotting how to make money for AAHS, to an amazing committee working hard to help us reach our goal," Coppola McNamara said. "It is all very exciting, and we are both thrilled to be giving back to our hometown."
The ticket prices of $100 includes dinner for two, beer and wine, plus the chance to win $5,000 in the reverse drawing. The Mirror's Neil Rudel will serve as the evening's emcee.
Tickets may be purchased through any committee member or by e-mailing Carrie@DougWestFund.org.