After almost four years, Sue Bullis is continuing to turn the grief over the loss of her son William in the 2010 San Bruno explosion and fire into a productive effort with her culinary scholarship.
This year, Bullis is hoping to raise more money than ever during the William J. Bullis Scholarship fundraiser and auction Saturday, Aug. 9. The scholarship is a $15,000 tuition grant awarded yearly to one financially disadvantaged young adult with great potential for a culinary career. The scholarship honors William, a 17-year-old Mills High School senior, who overcame his physical disability to discover his passion for cooking. Bullis was one of eight people killed in the 2010 natural gas explosion and fire. His father Greg, grandmother Lavonne and dog Lucky were lost that day.
“It’s exciting for me to know that I’m keeping Will’s dream alive,” Sue Bullis said. “If anything good can come out of the explosion in 2010, this has come out of it; we’re touching people’s lives because of it.”
The scholarship goes toward the student attending the International Culinary Center in Campbell. The nonprofit Friends of the International Culinary Center also supports needy culinary students in the centers in New York City and Campbell.
“Together we are keeping his dream alive by helping others to attain their culinary dream,” said the nonprofit’s president Andy Birsh in a prepared statement.
Last year, the fundraiser and auction was able to raise more than $12,000 toward the award. This year, there will also be a live auction and the event will be at a larger venue since last year it grew too big to accommodate enough people in Sue Bullis’ home, where it was held last year. So far, more than 60 companies have donated more than 100 items for the auctions.
“It’s just unbelievable the generosity of people,” she said. “For now it’s (the event) annual and then we’ll see how it grows.”
Auction items this year include a safari in South Africa, a fighter pilot training session, an emerald and diamond necklace by Geneve Jewelers on Burlingame Avenue and olive oil tastings. Charles Schwab also donated items and Wells Fargo Bank is giving out a spa package.
Meanwhile, at least two of the past scholarship recipients are coming to the fundraiser, including the first recipient Anthony Ortiz of Hayward. Other winners are Alexandria Corona, Peter Laforge and Justin Gaspar.
“I’m totally psyched by this,” Sue Bullis said. “I’m really feeling we’ve made a difference in their lives.”
To donate goods to the silent auction or for more information, contact Sue Bullis at 455-1454 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This year’s scholarship winner will be announced by the end of August.
Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com/event/559100. State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, will speak at the event. Monetary donations to The Friends of the International Culinary Center, earmarked for the scholarship, are tax deductible as permitted by law and may be sent care of Marc Tsuchiya, financial service manager, International Culinary Center, 700 W. Hamilton Ave., Suite 300, Campbell, CA 95008.
The event will be held from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at The Congregational Church of San Mateo, 225 Tilton Ave. in San Mateo.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105