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Donors and auction-goers raised $107,250 for the nonprofit Saturday night, smashing the goal of $70,000 and narrowly missing 2000’s record auction.
“This is the second highest amount ever raised. The only one above that was when we went from a Boys Club to a Boys and Girls Club back in 2000. I believe the total was around $114,000,” Executive Director Henry Shaw said. “I can only think of one thing: What a great community we live in. It’s absolutely awesome.”
The auction aired on Suddenlink Channel 16 and on the radio at KPLT 1490AM and 96.3FM. Bids in the room and over the phone kept the auctioneers busy for hours. It started at 6 p.m., and the total was announced at 2 a.m. At 9:20 p.m., the club announced it had already raised $62,115.
Sheriff Scott Cass walked in at one point in the evening and waved at someone. The auctioneer stopped and asked, “Are you bidding, Scott?” When it became apparent he wasn’t, the auctioneer added: “I’m going to sell you something if you wave again.”
A football signed by the 1988 Paris High School championship football team went for $500 to Dr. Mark Gibbs. Bidding on the Eagles tickets started at $1,200; they sold for $3,500. One of the biggest ticket items was a jar of muscadine jelly that went for $7,400 thanks to the Muscadine Jelly Association. People join for $100 each. The money is pooled and used in the auction. The tradition started with Robbie Morrow picking the grapes and making the jelly herself several years ago, he said.
“This is the best crowd we’ve had in a long time,” Shaw said. “We didn’t know how it would turn out with having to cancel it last week.”
The recent ice storm caused a week’s delay in the auction. He credited the turnout in large part to the decision to use this year’s fundraiser to honor Tommy Duncan and L.V. Morrow, who have been involved in the auction for more than 50 years.
In addition to the money raised through the auction, donations were announced throughout the night, such as $10,000 given in memory of Richard Daiker and an anonymous $5,000 donation in honor of Duncan and Morrow.
Membership in the Boys and Girls Club is $15 a year, and kids get a safe place to go after school. Homework comes first, followed by a snack and then a program for the evening. The club also offers indoor soccer, football, basketball and junior volleyball programs.