Paul Andrew

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July 15, 2007
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Barkley treats firefighters to dinner

STATELINE (AP) - Charles was definitely "in charge," on Saturday night, as he provided dinner and drinks at Cabo Wabo for local firefighters who battled the recent Angora fire that ravaged over 200 homes on June 24.

After touring the fire site on Friday afternoon, Charles Barkley decided he needed to help those heroes who risked their lives to save so many homes.

"I didn't think it was appropriate for us to be out here just having fun playing golf when so many people experienced such devastation," Barkley said. "After seeing the fire area, I wanted to do something for them."

Barkley increased his donation to locals fire victims from $25,000 to $100,000 after visiting the fire area on Friday.

More than 100 firefighters and their guests enjoyed the generosity of Barkley, who provided a full Mexican buffet and drinks throughout the evening.

"This is fantastic," said Rick Nicholson of the Tahoe Douglas Fire District. "This really lifts the spirits of those who fought the fires."

"The firefighters felt they lost the 250 homes, which hit them hard. This will help them heal their pain quicker. For (Barkley) to do this, really speaks from the heart."

Former vice president Dan Quayle also attended the dinner to add his support.

"Charles told me to come by, so I did," Quayle joked. "We wanted to support the firefighters. We'll be auctioning off a basketball to help the fire victims."

Mike Mosca of the Lake Valley Fire Department, who was on the front lines of the fire, was extremely appreciative.

"It is great to have the support of the celebrities," Mosca said. "The support from people outside our community has been unbelievable."

Former Notre Dame basketball coach and current ESPN college basketball analyst Digger Phelps dropped by to lend his support.

"This reminds me of what people went through after 9/11, and the way people have responded," Phelps said. "We wanted to let the firefighters know we think of them as heroes."

As Barkley circulated throughout the room, shaking hands, having his picture taken and hugging the ladies, the sincerity of the former NBA All-Star was obvious.

"This community means so much to me," Barkley said. "I am such a (lousy) golfer, but these people still come out to watch me play."


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 16, 2007 04:33PM Published Jul 15, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.