CFC benefits from LR 'Price is Right' adventure

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- A group from the Launch and Range Systems Wing here took a Combined Federal Campaign fundraising trip to CBS studios in Hollywood Nov. 15, vying for seats in contestants row on the famed game-show 'The Price is Right.'

A creative strategy to generate donations, the team raised $274 for the CFC general fund. "Since admission to the show is free I asked each participant for a $10 donation to CFC," said Capt. Jamie Johnson, LRSW CFC Representative. "I tried to think of something extra...something fun other than just collecting slips...to raise interest in CFC."

Captain Johnson called CBS studios to request a group reservation for his team of 15 airmen and 10 civilians. "I was concerned that Bob Barker's recent retirement announcement might hurt our chances of getting a slot, but we were lucky," he said. "It was really crowded that day because of the announcement."

Fortunately, after arriving at 10 a.m. and waiting 4 hours in line before show-time, the group did not come home empty-handed. "I knew that if we wore our service dress uniforms one of us would get on stage," Captain Johnson said.

His instincts proved true. The show's producers interviewed the group before the show and his co-worker Capt. Moises "Mo" Alvarez was ordered to "Come on Down" during the second half. "We mentioned our fund-raising purpose to the producers, but I think Mo got chosen because he presents a sharp image," said Captain Johnson.

After his triumphant jaunt to contestant's row, Captain Alvarez bid closest to the actual price without going over on a set of pots and pans. After shaking Bob's hand he played the pricing game 'Half Off' where he correctly chose the items including a telephone, a neck cooler, and a hand-mixer reduced by 50 percent. His prize...$10,000 cash and miscellaneous prizes adding up to nearly $13,000 total value.

"It felt great to win," said Captain Alvarez. "I was having fun even before my win, and after that it was great!"

During the group's 4-hour wait, several other audience members thanked them for their military service. "Every time we moved to a new place [in the winding line] our group was cheered by the rest of the audience members," Captain Johnson said.

During commercial breaks, Bob Barker interacted with the audience, answering questions and accepting personalized gifts brought to him from all across America.

"He's a really nice and funny guy. I asked him to say his lines from the 'Happy Gilmore' movie and he did so twice," Captain Johnson said. "It was nice to get to the show before his retirement."

"Bob was very personable and very likeable," said Capt Alvarez. "He was very engaging with the audience as a whole."

Those donating to CFC can designate a charitable organization to receive their funds. Captain Johnson's personal favorites are "any [organization] supporting kids," he said. And Captain Alvarez's is The Red Cross.

For Airmen interested in attending 'The Price is Right,' Captain Johnson has this advice. "Go to the grocery store and memorize the prices of grocery products; go to wikipedia online and learn how to play all 80 of the 'Price is Right' games; memorize the price of denture cream; act genuinely excited but don't overdue it; and try to look good."

If interested in seeing our now-famous SMC Airman, Captain Alvarez's appearance will air Jan. 12 during the show's historic 35th season. He will be watching from his work's conference room where he is hosting a celebration party.