by DONNA WEAVER, Staff Writer | Posted: Friday, December 25, 2009
Jacquelyn Dunphy, of Mount Holly, Burlington County, may be having the best Christmas ever after a dinner date earlier this month with heart throb Nick Lachey that cost $10,600.
OK, well, she didn't pay to take him out to a swanky Los Angeles restaurant. Her sister, Jill Stare, bid on the date through MyWorkButterfly, an online community for working and returning-to-work moms of which Dunphy is a member. Bidding took place over a 10-day period this fall. Proceeds went to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation of which Lachey is an ambassador.
The founders of MyWorkButterfly call Dunphy's win a love story between two sisters.
Stare, of Harrisburg, Pa., bid on the date with Lachey after Dunphy's husband, Patrick T. Perinchief, died from a heart attack in October 2007. He was just 36 years old and left behind two small children, said Bradi Nathan, co-founder of MyWorkButterfly. Perinchief was a lifelong resident of Mount Holly, and worked as a sixth-generation funeral director in the family funeral home, Perinchief Chapels.
Stare wanted to give Jacquie something to look forward to, a reason to get dressed up and to perhaps begin anew, said Nathan, of Livingston, Essex County. Nathan said earlier this month that Dunphy was whisked away to Los Angeles, checked into the W in Westwood, sent to be dressed by Club Monaco and then off to Mastro's restaurant for an evening like no other with Lachey. Surprise - Mario Lopez was dining next to Lachey and Dunphy at Mastros.
"It was amazing. He (Lachey) was wonderful," Dunphy said. "We had so much fun. It was a great night for Save the Music. It's going to be a hard first date to follow."
Nathan said she couldn't have picked a more perfect winner than Dunphy. The widow's story touched the hearts of Nathan, MyWorkButterfly co-founder Terry Starr, and Lachey, Nathan said.
"It had a different impact than someone just doing it for the prospect of meeting a celebrity, and Nick went above and beyond and invited her out afterwards. It was a great way to change someone's life that had been distraught for two years over the death of her husband," Nathan said.
We may be talking about A-list celebrities like Lachey, and jet setting to L.A., but Dunphy, 36, shares something in common with fellow Jersey Girl 38-year-old Nathan. Both working moms call Long Beach Island their second home where their families have vacation homes - albeit on opposite ends of the island. Dunphy said as she grew up vacationing in Beach Haven her friends worked in the Long Beach Township coffee shop Caf� Bacio owned by Nathan's parents.
"We had people entering this contest from all over the world, and we have this LBI connection. It's crazy," Nathan said.
Both women say they are hoping their paths cross again this summer, perhaps this time on LBI.