Last night, Galpin Motors hosted a meet and greet happy hour to introduce more folks to the Jim Mora Count on Me Family Foundation. It was another enjoyable event.
My wife and I got there about 6:45 and the room was much fuller than I expected given rush hour traffic and what not. There were probably about 30 people there when I got there and it grew to about 50.
Unlike the other event that uclaluv went to in Manhattan Beach, there wasn't as much of a UCLA presence tonight.
Besides the Moras and the UCLA fans/STHs present, the only other notable UCLA person there was Olympic decathlete and torch lighter Rafer Johnson. On one hand, I was glad that he was the only one. At least, Chianti didn't show up! Because I would have had to ask him about why he wasn't back strapping it on to find us a new basketball coach.
Unfortunately, I didn't get an opportunity to meet Rafer and wish I had, but it was a good time even without that.
The food from Galpin's Horseless Carriage restaurant was very good. That could be because my expectations weren't very high after having been to lots of similar events over the years. My personal favorite were the hot roast beef wraps. Instead of serving the wraps cold, they were actually hot which made them especially tasty.
After allowing folks to mingle a little and grab some food, Galpin's Tony DeMaio introduced Coach Mora and his wife Shannon. Coach and his wife seem like an interesting couple. They joked back and forth a bit while introducing the Count on Me Foundation to everyone. Apparently, the golf tournament is almost sold out. So, if you've been waiting for any reason, you should probably get signed up ASAP.
One of the coolest and most interesting things about the Foundation is how the Moras have chosen to run it. In order to make sure as much money as possible goes to the kids they are helping, Shannon insists that everything they offer as part of the golf tournament be donated. So, all the prizes and auction items are all donated by someone. The foundation doesn't spend any money to purchase that stuff. As I said, it makes sure as much money as possible goes to serving the kids and kids organization they work with.
Another cool thing about the foundation is the name. Coach Mora said they called it "Count on Me" because the kids they are helping have frequently been abandoned by other folks in their lives. In order to live up to the name, they continue helping in both Atlanta and Seattle as well as,now, Southern California. As they've moved around, they didn't want to abandon the kids they were helping elsewhere. So, they continue to work with kids and organizations in those other areas as well as ours. I thought that was pretty cool.
After introducing the foundation to everyone, it was time for our tour of the Galpin Auto Museum across the street. This was a big highlight of the evening for me. I got to see a little glimpse of this at the LA Auto Show in December where they displayed a James Bond Astin Martin from their collection. So, I was really looking forward to seeing the rest of it. This was a great collection of different cars from throughout the years including the 13th Ford GT ever produced, numerous Mustangs, Liberace's car complete with candlelabra and a (I think) Model T. As we walked through, I wanted to ask Coach if he's a "car guy", but didn't get a chance.
Following the tour, everyone went back across the street to where we had met earlier to socialize some more. I got to talk with both Coach and Shannon a little bit. They both seem like pretty down to earth folks. It was fun to hang out a little bit in a non-football situation.
I don't know if there are any plans for additional events like this, but I highly recommend attending one if there is.
It's a good opportunity to see the type of people the Moras are and how they are trying to give back to the communities they've been a part of including Southern California.