I would like to tell you a story that set us upon the path of conducting these wine tasting affairs for charity. His name is Richie Cliff. Richie was born September 4th of 2008. His mom is Stacy. We came to know Stacy when she came to work for Luigi’s as a server in early 2007. She came to Fayetteville because her husband was Captain Richard G. Cliff Jr. of Army Special Forces, based at Fort Bragg. They had been married since 2003, had just recently purchased a new house, and Richie’s military career was on the rise. In early 2008, Stacy let us know she was expecting. They were very excited; this would be their first child. She stayed on with us as a hostess throughout her pregnancy, constantly beaming with joy, as do many new expectant mothers. Cpt. Cliff knew that his deployment to Afghanistan would coincide closely time wise with the birth of his child. The Army allowed him to stay behind when his unit left, just long enough to see his son, Richie, born on September 4. He spent a week with his wife and newborn son, his family reflecting that it was perhaps the best week of his life. He then deployed on September 11, 2008 to rejoin his group. Seventeen days later, Cpt. Cliff’s unit, the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, was on combat reconnaissance patrol near Yakhchal, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device. Cpt. Cliff, Richie to friends and family, and two of his fellow soldiers were instantly killed.
Stacy and her young son Richie have remained in the Fayetteville area in their home. We see them on occasion and are constantly reminded of the sacrifices that our men and women of our armed forces constantly bear.
Shortly following this tragic event, the original founders of the Fayetteville Wine Society felt as if an opportunity had arisen that could in some way assist those who have suffered. We embarked on a journey to create one of the Community of Fayetteville’s most exceptional social events. Our goal became to create “An event that would encompass the appreciation of wine, music, and food, all the while recognizing the sacrifices of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. We would seek out reputable charitable organizations that provided assistance to those who serve, especially those who serve right here in our community of Fayetteville/Fort Bragg. They would be the beneficiaries of this event”.
And so it was, the first event was born. The beneficiary was the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund in 2009. The following year we worked closely with The USO of North Carolina. Our events took a couple of years in hiatus, basically due to some relocations of the Fayetteville Wine Society’s founding members. But each year, community interest to bring the event back kept rising and in 2012, we realized it would happen again. And although our return event will be four years following our last one, our small group of four founding members has grown to a formidable number of committee volunteers, all with the common goal of making this a special annual event. We have renamed the event Fayetteville Uncorked! A toast to our Troops! We hope you will come and toast with us.
Luigis Italian Restaurant
Co-Founder of the Fayetteville Wine Society