Cigar Aficionado

Cigar Dinner Raises $80,000 for Charity

Paul Reiser, the comedian-actor-producer, seemed mad about something at the fifth annual God of Fire charity dinner in Los Angeles on Saturday night.

"This man has made an entire business out of the fact that no one can find a match," said Reiser about Keith Park, the founder and chief executive officer of lighter company Prometheus International Inc., and the head of God of Fire Inc., distributor of limited-edition cigars made by Tabacalera A. Fuente.

The roasting continued when Reiser's God of Fire by Carlito Double Corona, a new cigar Park is releasing in November, went out.

"If they could invent a lighter that works for more than an hour," Reiser joked, "I would invest right now." Reiser then pleaded, "Does anyone have a match?"

Park laughed. He and 180 guests had begun the evening with a God of Fire by Don Carlos 2006, and thoroughly enjoyed a night of fine food, Cambria wines, Macallan single-malt Scotches, and outstanding cigars all for a good cause, helping children in need.

"We raised $80,000, which is less than what we usually raise at the event," Park shared. "But given the economic situation, we did quite well. Since the inaugural dinner in 2005, the God of Fire charity dinner has raised over $900,000."

The first dinner was held in 2005 in New York City. Since then, all the dinners have been held at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. Proceeds from each event go to the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by the Fuente and Newman (Diamond Crown, Cuesta-Rey) cigar families that today serves more than 5,000 families in the Dominican Republic by providing educational and other vital services. Each year, the God of Fire dinner also benefits local organizations.

This year, two Los Angeles groups received funding from the dinner. Para los Niños/For the Children, and Beyond Shelter have been helping Los Angeles children and families in need since the 1980s.

Every year, the God of Fire organizers also honor a person who has worked to help children in need. This year, the honoree was Cuban-born actor-director-musician and cigar lover Andy Garcia, who was also the one who recommended the two local charities. Actor Joe Mantegna, a co-host of the event, introduced Garcia.

Andy Garcia receiving the 2009 God of Fire Man of the Year Award from Joe Mantegna and Keith K. Park, the co-hosts of the event.

"Every year we pick an honoree who—" Mantegna began, his sentence seamlessly finished by Garcia.

"Will show up!" Garcia shouted.

Garcia spoke warmly about the evening's festivities, the cause and then told a story of how he and cigarmaker Carlos "Carlito" Fuente Jr. became good friends when Garcia traveled to the Dominican Republic to film scenes for his movie, "The Lost City," a story about the impact of the Castro revolution on Cuban families. Garcia had to shoot scenes in a tobacco field, and some at a Latin American presidential palace. Garcia had already met Fuente and had an open invitation to visit the Dominican Republic.

Garcia visited and asked Fuente if a meeting with then-Dominican President Hipolito Mejia could be arranged so that Garcia could ask for help in shooting the scene in which the Cuban presidential palace was attacked. Fuente said it would be no problem. Garcia could little predict the new insights he would gain into his host's "hobbies."

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