The basics: Eliseo Zepeda, 54, a commercial gardener, is the longtime president of the Oakland Raiders Boosters of Tulare & Kings Counties. He has been married 22 years to wife Tammy. They have a son Christian, 22, and daughter Annelise, 18.
What he does: Zepeda has been a driving force in the club’s fundraising and community outreach that includes raffles and many charity outings. The club, now approaching 400 members, recently wrapped up its 2015 efforts with a raffle and toy and food collection that raised $5,300 for the Bethlehem Center in Visalia. Others that have benefited over the years include Valley Children’s Hospital and Visalia’s Good News Center.
Why he does it: “Without the loyalty of your members you got nothing. We have a good solid board and that’s what keeps me going. We’re here to do what’s best for our club.”
The turning point: Zepeda was president for nine years before taking time off in 2006-07, returning the following year and spearheading the club’s drive to give back to the community. “What keeps me going, too, is our fan base,” says Zepeda, who at monthly meetings will acknowledge those in attendance by calling out their names and hometowns during a raffle.
Details, details: Formed in 1990 as the Visalia Raiders boosters, the club began to draw fans from Hanford, Tulare, Porterville and more, spurring the renaming in 1995. Monthly meetings draw about 60 members, “and without them there is no club,” Zepeda says. Guest speakers are a regular highlight, with Zepeda recently bringing in Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie and ex-star receiver Cliff Branch. In August, Zepeda also likes to host meetings outside of Visalia – going to Hanford, Lindsay and Kingsburg among others – to say thanks to members from those cities.
What others say: “He is a big part of the Raider Nation in Kings and Tulare County,” says Albert De Luna, president of the Knights of the Shield booster club in Fresno. “I have worked with him on different occasions, and his club have been around for 25 years and that should tell you something about him.”
How you can help: Anyone wishing to join or help the Tulare/Kings County Raiders boosters club can call the hotline at 559-265-3966, visit www.raidersforlife.org or www.raidersforlife.org/facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.