BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — We’re highlighting Bills fans who are taking their passion off the field. News 4’s Kelsey Anderson met with a Bills Mafia member who gave up more than 100 collector’s items, all for a good cause.
Sammy Violante, who’s also known as “Sammy V,” says “My greatest receiving is when I’m giving.”
Sammy has a lot to give in what he says. “You make a living on what you get, but you make a life on what you give.”
There are a few things you should know about Sammy. First, he’s a massive Bills fan who’s been a season ticket holder for 47 years.
He also has OCD. The condition has a lot to do with why he has all these collector’s items in pristine condition.
“I had a lot of these items signed over the years, and collected, and collected, and collected and then they were in my basement, in my garage, in my attic and I’m thinking, ‘I don’t have enough walls for all this stuff.'”
Years ago, Sammy was a stock broker. He says he was making all the money he ever wanted, but OCD derailed his career and many personal relationships.
He got help, and then started volunteering. Sammy started at Compass House, mentoring at-risk runaway teens.
He then started giving back to the Mental Health Advocates of Western New York, leading a support group for others with OCD.
This year, 17 years after he started giving back, he realized he needed to do even more.
“Adversity equals opportunity,” Violante says. “The pandemic, although it’s a setback, it’s also a setup for an opportunity to do something great. And I saw a great opportunity to take these donations and make them big dollars for a big cause.”
So, Violante auctioned off 140-150 collector’s items — signed helmets, Super Bowl cushions with their programs and more.
In return, Violante raised more than $12,000. The money is getting split between the two organizations.
He says this moment, giving nearly everything away for a good cause, is like his Super Bowl.
“When you give, there is a magic you cannot get anywhere else,” he says. “And I lived both scorecards. I lived the one about making all the money, having all the toys, the white picket fence, the car, the boat, all of that. This, I got kids telling me ‘Sammy V, you changed my life.'”
Sammy says there are still some items he’s looking to sell. Once he’s done auctioning everything off, he expects to make between $15,000 and $20,000 for the organizations.
He also hopes his story inspires others to give back to organizations that may be hurting right now.