Today, a city woman assured me that she's prepared to donate $10,000 toward reviving one of New Bedford's signature summer events, Joe Jesus' '50s Night.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, had heard me talking on WBSM about how the desire was there to get '50s Night going again after missing the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that funding was a problem.

Everyone involved was wondering if it was going to be able to happen at all, until this wonderful woman stepped up to make all that worry disappear into the still of the night.

She said she wanted to donate the money in memory of her beloved husband.

"I was married for over 50 years to an angel on Earth," she said.

After taking a long, emotion-filled pause, she described the beautiful memories she has of her late husband holding her hand, like a couple going steady, meandering through the '50s Night crowd, among some of the coolest vintage cars.

"Everyone there looked so happy and friendly," she recalled. "In his memory, I'm willing to donate $10,000 to help bring back some of that enjoyment for the people of our community."

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The donation comes at what was a time of uncertainty for the future of '50s Night. Joe Jesus' granddaughter, Dawn Mahler, and former city council candidate Scott Pemberton were both willing to put on the event, but time was running out to raise the funds needed for securing permits, police details, and everything else involved in putting on the event.

That's when I got a call from Mike Lawrence, Public Information Officer for the City of New Bedford, who wanted to let me know that an anonymous donor wanted to contribute $10,000 to get things moving.

"I couldn't get through at WBSM and all the mailboxes are full, so I looked in an old telephone directory and found 'Paleologos,' so I could mail you a card to call me," she told me when we spoke this afternoon. That's when she decided to call Mayor Jon Mitchell's office.

We spoke for an hour and a half, as she shared wonderful memories of her life with her husband, and spoke about how it makes her feel good to be able to do this for the people of the city.

Once the donation is in hand and the check has cleared, Mahler and Pemberton will begin the process of planning the event and getting it on the calendar for sometime this summer. We will update you as soon as we have a date and any more information.

“The power of prayers works as it did in this case,” Pemberton said. “But it also gives me a chill because deep down I know there was a special person looking out for us. This person wants us to keep this event going and to keep his legacy alive. Somewhere up in heaven, I just know Joe was looking out for us.”

He's right. Somewhere up in heaven, Joe Jesus is smiling down on the wonderful gesture made by this woman, who is doing it for her own special angel up in heaven.

"Doing this helps bring my husband closer," she said. "Our favorite thing was just being together."

And all of us will be together once again at Joe Jesus' '50s Night this summer, thanks to her generosity.

New Bedford's '50s Night Over the Years

Joe Jesus' '50s Night was a longtime staple of New Bedford's summer schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Take a look at '50s Night over the years.

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