Meet the Miracle Maker – TJ Pagano

TJ Pagano, co-owner of Pagano Rod & Customs in Rancho Cordova, has been custom painting cars for almost 20 years.  TJ is the coordinator of the Pinstriping Event and Charity Auction at the annual Sacramento Autorama and has been a driving force in bringing the best pinstripers from across the nation together to paint auction items at the show.

Watching the pinstripers paint their art pieces live has become a favorite attraction for many who attend the event. The artists typically paint on metal panels, but also paint items provided by attendees. Once completed, the one-of-a-kind art pieces are donated by the artists and auctioned off to help raise money for UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

Please meet Miracle Maker, TJ Pagano!

Photo of TJ Pagano and John Buck
TJ Pagano, left, and John Buck at the annual Sacramento Autorama.

How long have you been involved with Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis? What has your involvement looked like over time?

I’ve been involved with Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis for 12 or 13 years now.  I have been involved in many different pinstriping auction events aside from Sacramento Autorama. We had been doing them at other shows, including an indoor show in San Francisco, and recently the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, Calif. John Buck, the Autorama show promoter, wanted a pinstriping auction as part of the event so we were introduced and ran with it. He insisted on UC Davis Children’s Hospital as the benefiting charity and I was immediately on board with that.  From there, John was able to secure sponsors to pay for the paint and we’ve been doing it ever since.

John Buck, the Autorama show promoter, wanted a pinstriping auction as part of the event so we were introduced and ran with it. He insisted on UC Davis Children’s Hospital as the benefiting charity and I was immediately on board with that.

Artist painting
Pinstripe artist painting a piece for the charity event at the Sacramento Autorama.

There are so many good causes, why did you choose to support UC Davis Children’s Hospital?

I chose this hospital because I’m interested in helping kids.

What is your favorite memory while supporting UC Davis Children’s Hospital?

The best part is raising money. Especially seeing when particular pieces sell more than others. That’s rad.  As I tally the totals, they’re announced on the stage and it’s pretty awesome.

How has being involved with UC Davis Children’s Hospital changed your life? Your family’s life?

There’s a lot of pride involved with supporting the hospital and witnessing how it has positively impacted people, and also seeing how the community views our business in such a positive way because we support UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

What motivates you as a volunteer?

I am motivated by the opportunity to be involved and give back and because it’s a good thing to do. Like my dad said, it’s the pride of it. It’s one of the good causes I can be a part of.

What do you think about every time you volunteer for UC Davis Children’s Hospital?

I think about the pride. When I get something stuck in my head I have to do it. I think about the determination of getting it done and the gratification afterwards.

What do you think is the most important thing people don’t know about this hospital?

The hospital is a level I trauma center and what they’re able to do for the kids is above and beyond other hospitals in this area.

What would you say to people about why they should invest in the health of children’s hospitals? 

Why wouldn’t you? They are our future. I feel like kids need different treatment than adults. People are always more than willing to donate for kids.

Photo of custom hot rod.
Sacramento Autorama partnered with Pagano Rod & Customs to raise money for UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

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