Hospice Benefit Auction raises almost $10,000

August 10, 1997


Staff Writer

Participants at this year's Hospice Benefit Auction outbid themselves Sunday evening - topping last year's total by more than $2,200 to total $9,534.

Ticket sales for the preliminary Taste of the Town event raised another $10,000, said Hospice administrative assistant Mary Reid. About 500 people politely packed the Grand Ballroom at the Hagerstown Ramada Inn for the Taste of the Town and most stayed for the auction afterwards.

"As a former paramedic, it's a good feeling to know where the money is going. We always have a very good crowd. The people bid with their hearts - hearts more than wallets," said Auctioneer John Compton, of J. D. Compton Auctioneering in Clear Spring.


Card-raising audience members bid on 59 items, including hotel accommodations, a Swedish massage, a Longaberger basket, Baltimore Orioles tickets, haircut and makeover, a computer printer, car stereo, a 24-karat gold-dipped rose, baseballs autographed by Cal Ripken, Dave Parker and Eddie Murray and 2,000 square feet of driveway sealing.

The highest bid was $1,850 for a one-week condomium rental at Hilton Head, S.C.

The auction is part of Hospice of Washington County Inc.'s 13th Annual Taste of the Town, which featured food from 16 local restaurants, filled 48 tables of 10 people each and put tons of silverware in motion.

"It's a really nice outpouring of community support," said Bob H. Rauch, executive director of Hospice.

He said the fund-raiser is a win-win-win situation.

"It's good for the vendors who get word of mouth recognition, good for us, generating funds for medical equipment and medicine, and good for the people - they get to eat from 16 restaurants for about one dollar a restaurant."

Sheila King, of Hagerstown, who enjoyed pina colada fruit dip, said the $20 ticket price is worth it for the food and for helping the sick.

"My father died of cancer five years ago. He didn't want to go to the hospital. They were a big help to us," she said.

King said her mother, Charlotte Saunders, of Hagerstown, was the family's designated bidder.

"Hospice is a good cause. I don't mind helping them," said Saunders, who said her limit was $200.

Vincent Hellane Sr., of West Hagerstown, said Hospice volunteers helped his mother.

"They were a godsend. Everyone should help them," he said.

About 15 members of the Jaycees of Hagerstown spent most of the evening on their feet.

"We do as much as we can to help community organizations that need it. It's a wonderful cause," said Vice President for Community Development Ann Shryock.

Pianist Robert Freed, of Frederick, Md. set the mood with continuous classics from the stage piano.

The restaurateurs also spent most of the evening on their feet.

Jim Kercheval, owner of Kerch's Famous Southern BBQ, was the first to sign up - back on May 22.

"When it first started, we had no idea what Taste of the Town was. They've really built this up. This is the easiest event to get volunteers for," he said, as he and an assistant served chicken wings and chicken barbecue sandwiches.

Cheryl Kenney, deli manager at Twilight's Ristorante, served steamed mussels and a crostini bar.

"It's gratifying to know that our restaurant can do something that is our specialty that is beneficial to their organization," she said.

Since 1981, Hospice of Washington County Inc. has treated terminally-ill Washington County residents who request the service.

The office is at 101 E. Baltimore St.

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