The East Texas chapter of the March of Dimes will host its 5th Annual Signature Chefs Auction and Gala at Willow Brook Country Club on Tuesday, Sept 16. Featuring eleven corporate, country club and restaurant chefs, the auction and gala will give guests the chance to taste gourmet signature dishes, bid on unique auction items, meet the chefs and increase their awareness of the March of Dimes mission to improve the health of babies.

Brookshire Grocery Company will return for the fifth year as the Presenting Sponsor along with the Village Bakery. Additional event sponsors include Dogwood Hills Gun Club, Dakotas Restaurant, Henry and Peters PC Certified Public Accountants, Overhead Door Company, East Texas Refrigeration, Larry Lott Interiors, RMC Surveying, Jake Mienk, Bridgette's, Harley's, Re/Max Jim McCain, Tyler Today magazine, Suddenlink, East Texas Business Printing and Kiepersol Enterprises.

"What better way to enjoy a wonderful meal than by supporting the March of Dimes mission and working together for stronger, healthier babies, right here in Tyler," Bettie Smith, Owner and Chef at Village Bakery and Signature Chefs Auction Event Chair, said. "I am grateful that volunteering for the March of Dimes has offered me the chance to work with some wonderful volunteers."

Generous donations of sponsorships and priceless items have been made available for auction by Brookshire Grocery Company giving groceries for a year worth $5,200, R J Jewelers $10,000 gift certificate, a week on the big island of Hawaii, a tropical Belize adventure, paradise during Caymans Dive Week and a shopping spree from Larry Lott Interiors.

Other auction items include a custom designed Christmas tree by The Christmas Store, a concealed handgun license training class for ten people by Dogwood Hills Gun Club and Cowboys tickets with a football personally autographed by Roger Staubach. Additional items include an autographed cookbook and private cooking class for 6 with Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor Christine Gardner, a Mundo Villapudua metal art sculpture and a special work of art by Becky Martin.

East Texas chefs participating in this year's event include Michael Brady of Fresh by Brookshire Grocery Company; Jackson York and David Wolf of Lakeview Methodist Conference Center; Bernard Gautier of Bernard Mediterranean Restaurant; Whit and Lisa Bowman of Adalante' Catering and Events Company, Inc.; Carlos Villapudua of Villa Montez; Dion Emanuel of Willow Brook Country Club; Bettie Smith-Desha of The Village Bakery; Rick Neal of Eagle's Bluff Country Club; Jack Lewis of Rick's on the Square; Christian Mailloux of Red Fire Grill; and Andrew Griffith of Three Z Azian Cuizine.

Premature birth is the most serious infant health problem in the United States today. It affects more than half a million babies nationwide each year, with one in every eight babies born premature in our community. Babies born too soon are more likely to die or have lifelong disabilities. March of Dimes is committed to reversing this trend by funding research to find the causes of premature birth and developing strategies to prevent it. Guests will hear first hand the impact March of Dimes has had on the lives of this year's Tyler Ambassador Family, Jennifer and Ben Rasberry and their children.

Funds raised by Signature Chefs Auction support lifesaving research and educational programs in East Texas. Six hospitals in Texas partner with March of Dimes to offer the NICU Family Support Program (NFS). NFS addresses the needs of the families during their NICU hospitalization, their transition home and additional resources in the event of a newborn death.

NFS also offers professional education opportunities to the NICU staff to support the care for families centered around their needs and experiences. Families who have a baby in the NICU at Mother Frances Hospital receive March of Dimes print, online and A/V materials to help parents understand the NICU and connect with their baby.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit or Find us on Facebook at March of Dimes East Texas and follow us on Twitter at

For information about attending the Signature Chefs event contact the March of Dimes office and Vickie Hargrove at 903-707-3584,, Bettie Smith-Desha at 903-581-8749, Terry Fowler at 903-539-7045, or

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