Silent auction to raise money for Operation Warm Heart

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- A silent auction for more than 100 autographed sports, TV and entertainment memorabilia takes place 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. , May 31 at the Brick House.

The Spangdahlem's First Sergeant Council is sponsoring the event to raise funds for Operation Warm Heart, a program designed to help offset the needs of Airmen facing emergency-related financial hardships.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Anthony Mitchell, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron assistant first sergeant and fundraising chairperson for the council, organized the auction using past connections with requesting autographed memorabilia. As an avid sports enthusiast, Mitchell had worked with sports managers before requesting the items for his personal collection.

"I thought if I had something with a genuine purpose, the response from the sports teams would be better," said the Saltville, Va., native. "With Operation Warm Heart, I knew we were on to something special."

In January, Mitchell drafted an email describing the purpose of Operation Warm Heart and the idea of the silent auction. He then began emailing and contacting professional sports stars and team managers. Overall, he sent out more than 500 requests, one of which got into the hands of a TV agent who then forwarded the request to 200 more entertainment stars.

Mitchell's mailbox began receiving packages -- two, three and sometimes four parcels a day. Football jerseys, autographed photographs, used cleats, TV props, hats, books, dolls.

"This is the best part," Mitchell said about organizing all of the memorabilia. "We'll have great things to give to people, which will not only make them excited and happy but provides funds for a great cause. Just knowing the money is there when a situation comes up, we can get an Airman out of financial trouble."

The memorabilia will be displayed at the Brick House during the silent auction. Sheets of paper will hang beneath each item for sale with the minimum bid and blank lines for the current bid. The Brick House staff will serve beverages and food for those who will stay the entire time to ensure a winning bid.

"For some people, Christmas is coming early this year," he said with a laugh. "Being a fanatic football fan, this is right up my alley."

Mitchell continues to receive packages each week; however, below is a tentative list of items that will be present at the auction. Also, updates will be posted to the Facebook event page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/FirstShirtAutographs.

NFL
- Larry Wilson signed mini helmet
- Barry Richardson signed mini helmet
- Drew Brees autographed 8x10 photograph
- Alex Mack autographed 8x10 photograph
- Sheldon Brown autographed flag with team fan pack
- Vonta Leach autographed mini ball
- Austin Collie autographed football
- Joe Theismann autographed football and 8x10 photograph
- Ed Hochuli autographed football and 8x10 photograph
- Greg Jennings used and autographed cleats
- Paul Tagliabue autographed 10x13 photograph
- John Elway autographed 8x10 photograph
- Anthony Munoz autographed 8x10 photograph
- Morten Andersen autographed visor and jersey

NBA
- CAVs fan pack
- SUNs fan pack
- Paul George autographed photograph

NHL
- Gordie Howe autographed 8x10 photograph
- Brandon Yip autographed puck
- Mario Lemiex autographed poster
- Matt Cullen autographed 11x14 photograph
- Andrew Ference autographed puck

MLB
- Brandon Beachy autographed 8x10 photograph
- Kent Hrbek autographed baseball
- Cincinnati Reds fan pack
- Nolan Ryan autographed baseball card
- Daniel Hudson autographed 8x10 photograph
- Carlos Zambrano autographed baseball
- Justin Wilson autographed baseball
- Kevin Youkilis autographed 10x13 photograph

College
- Wisconsin autographed football jersey - Gary Anderson
- Mark Richt autographed 8x10
- Tony Barbee 8x10 photograph
- University of Florida basketball - Billy Donovan
- University of Florida football - Will Mushcamp
- Penn State baseball - Pat Chambers
- Penn State baseball - Luis Heredia
- Michigan football - Brady Hoke
- South Carolina fan pack
- Texas Tech DVD set
- University of Washington team autographed football
- Oregon State Nike shirt and autographed hat - Mike Riley
- Ole Miss autographed authentic football jersey - Hugh Freeze
- Standard Rose Bowl Champ hat/shift autographed by David Shaw
- Notre Dame autographed football - Brian Kelly

WNBA
- New York Liberty fan pack
- LA Sparks team/coach autographed shirt

MMA
- Ben Askrew autographed glove
- Cat Zingano jersey
- Bas Rutten autograph toy

Golf
- Sandra Gal autographed shoes and caps
- Beatriz Recari autographed 8x10 photograph
- Jason Dunfer autographed 8x10 photograph
- Tandi Cunningham autographed glove
- Ben Crane autographed golf club

NASCAR
- Matt Kenseth autographed 11x14 photograph
- Martin Truex Jr. autograph 8x10 photograph
- Kevin Harvick autographed 8x10 photograph
- Roush Fenway autographed 11x14 featuring Trevor Bayne, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Jack Roush
- Joey Lagano autographed hard hat and 5x7 photograph
- Richard Petty autographed hat
- Regan Smith autographed shirt
- Kasey Khane autographed photograph

Tennis
- Stef Graf autographed 4x6 photograph
- Ana Ivanovic autographed hat

MLS
- Kei Kamara autographed soccer ball

MISC
- Paul Sr. autographed book
- SaberCats Tickets
- Tony Hawk autographed 11x14 photograph
- Ryan Sheckler autographed poster
- Jennie Finch autographed softball and 4x6 photograph
- Brian Deegan autographed motocross pants
- Kristi Yamaguchi autographed books and 8x10 photograph
- Shannon Ihrke autographed calendar
- Alexia Fast autographed 8x10 photograph
- Mike Rowe autographed photograph and hat
- Paul Jr. autographed poster
- Prop from the Walking Dead autographed by acting staff