A charitable raffle funding cancer-fighting efforts awarded a pair of donors a truck and a Rolex watch on Tuesday.
The 2019 Cattle Barons’ Gala first announced the winners at its 32nd annual fundraiser on June 29. Proceeds from the event and the raffles benefit the American Cancer Society.
Duke McHugh — 67, of Monroe, Louisiana — received a Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust Watch at The Center on Grande in Tyler, where he is a rehabilitation patient due to a stroke he had in November.
McHugh is a gastroenterologist and said he became a doctor to help patients battle cancer.
“I got into that field to prevent cancer,” he said. “As an intern, the hardest thing for me was to tell people they had cancer.”
McHugh said colonoscopies and other tests for cancer have come a long way during his time as a doctor, a reminder to the importance of cancer research.
He purchased the raffle tickets after seeing a commercial for the gala because the money was going toward a good cause regardless if he won. He bought 72 of the 697 raffle tickets sold for the watch drawing, which raised $11,860 in total. The Rolex, which was donated by Susan Robinson Fine Jewelry, is valued at $7,850.
McHugh also purchased 13 truck raffle tickets, but Phil Smith was drawn as the winner to take home the vehicle.
Smith, 57, of Whitehouse, was presented the keys to a 2019 GMC Sierra SLT Crew Cab truck at Hall Buick GMC, which also donated the vehicle. The truck included custom headrests with a logo and text dubbing it the “Cattle Barons’ Edition.”
Smith is the president of Landmark Title of Tyler, which was a sponsor of the recent gala.
“(My wife and) I have enjoyed supporting American Cancer Society for a number of years,” Smith said. “We believe in this organization and all the people and members of the Tyler Cattle Barons’ Association do a wonderful job putting on this program.”
The fundraiser has charitable raffles each year, and Smith has purchased tickets before and said this year didn’t feel any different at first.
“I just stuck it in my desk drawer really not thinking about ever winning anything,” he said. “And then the night of the gala, we were sitting there and all of a sudden I had this feeling like maybe something might actually happen — and sure enough, it did.”
The truck raffle winner said he first plans to take his vehicle home to show his family and that his wife will be driving it, too.
Smith purchased six of the 529 total raffle tickets that were sold for the truck drawing, which raised $52,900 in total benefiting the American Cancer Society. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the vehicle is $51,880.
“I ask everybody to think about contributing at some point in time to the American Cancer Society,” Smith said. “It’s very worthwhile.”