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With Sunrise Rotary partnerships, everyone wins

November 04, 2003|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

At last year's inaugural The Sun Rises Over Rotary Auction, Julia Wright, 24, and Patrick Truby, 28, of Hagerstown, won a sky-diving package.

"We had a lot of fun last year. It was a good time," Truby said.

This year, they came back looking for more excitement.

On Sunday, Nov. 2, at the Sheraton Four Points on Dual Highway, the couple set their sights closer to the ground, on a pair of framed bird prints donated by Eric Rosenthal.

"We keep getting outbid," Wright said. "Now we're standing here watching to be sure we get it."

When the silent auction closed at 6 p.m., they had their prizes.

The playful competition didn't end at the prints. Down the table, Scott Hawbaker and Bill Christoffel bid down to the wire for tickets to a Baltimore Ravens game, resulting in an on-the-spot mini-auction led by auctioneer Norman O'Neal. Christoffel ultimately walked away with the tickets.

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Organizers estimated that the auction drew 275 guests and netted at least $50,000.

Tory VanReenen, Rotarian and auction chairwoman said the event came about as the result of a brainstorming session in a car with her friends.

VanReenen said Manny Shaool, a charter Sunrise Rotary member and a local business owner who contributed numerous items to the auction, has been crucial to the success of the event.

"When I mentioned the idea of an auction, Manny's eyes lit up. He is an extremely generous man and a true Rotarian," VanReenen said.

Shaool, a native of Iran, has lived in the United States for 40 years, 30 of those in Washington County.

"This country has been generous to me, and I want to be generous back," he said. "People of Washington County are really very generous with their help for each other. The feeling is so good. You don't see that many places."

Shaool excused himself to step aside and intervene in a bidding battle. Anne Jenny, a Rotary member and assistant auctioneer, was going against Kevin Hambelton for a 10-inch porcelain-covered jar donated by Shaool. When bidding hit $130, Shaool stepped in and said he would give one jar to each of the bidders.

Dr. Gary Palank, president of the Sunrise Rotary, said proceeds from the event will go to Children in Need, Community Free Clinic, Food Resources, Habitat for Humanity, Polio Plus and The Sunrise Rotary Foundation. Each of these organizations agreed to sell raffle tickets and tickets for the event, to provide one auction item worth at least $1,000, and to provide eight volunteers to serve at the function.

"All the organizations that benefit from the auction have contracts to work with us. This is not a handout; it is a partnership," said Palank.

VanReenen, too, stressed the importance of partnerships.

"The more we partner, the more we can keep money flowing in the community," she said. "Nice big partnership projects that raise a lot of money at one time result in less stress on both organizations and the community in the long run. The theme for the Rotary International this year is 'Lend a hand' and that is what everyone here is doing - the club, the guests and the community organizations."

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