BenitoLink met up with our 2018 San Benito Gives raffle winner, Debbie Simmons, on Friday June 8. She had just finished volunteering for the Baler breakfast for students about to graduate from San Benito High School. Her surname was selected as the winner by an online randomizer using the names of all BenitoLink donations made during San Benito Gives.
“I didn’t even know about the raffle, I just donated,” Simmons said laughing. “You guys do such an amazing job of providing information for the community,” she told BenitoLink Executive Director Leslie David when she stopped by the office to pick up her tickets. Simmons received four Disneyland tickets worth $620.
Simmons explained she was simply showing her support for Benitolink's local online news and didn't even notice that she would have an opportunity to be selected in the drawing.
“I love the variety in your stories that showcase the county," she said. "You have things that you don’t see in a normal commercial paper."
Simmons just retired March 2018 from Pinnacles National Park as a facility manager. She started with Pinnacles when it was still a national monument and then continued with it when it became a national park. She worked there for a total of 34 years.
Debbie lives near the unincorporated little “town” of San Benito, just south of the Pinnacles.
“It’s a great community,” she said about her south county neighbors.
Simmons was raised there, went to Jefferson School, then on to San Benito High School. Simmons’ daughter, Samantha, just finished her first year away at college. They were both discussing a trip to Disneyland and soon Debbie got the email notifying her of the selection.
"Is this real?" she asked herself when she read it.
BenitoLink thanks Debbie Simmons for her volunteer work around the county and enthusiastic support for her local nonprofit news. The majority of BenitoLink's funding comes from community members through donations and sponsorships.
Simmons and her daughter are now planning a Disneyland trip together this August, taking advantage of their new tickets before Samantha heads back to college.