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Auction raises $22,000 for Christian school

March 07, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Arnold Eby was hoping to flash the winning bid for the small quilt featuring his 6-year-old daughter's handprint at Grace Academy's fourth annual spring auction on Saturday.

Eby lost out to the grandfather of another kindergartner, but he still came away with a prized possession.

Eby cast the winning $475 bid for a double wedding ring quilt made and donated by his wife's grandmother, Ada Martin of Smithsburg.

"I got the one that I wanted the most," said Eby, of Hagerstown.

His wife, Donna, said the double bed quilt will go to their daughters, Hanna, 8, and Amanda, 6.

"My grandmother made it. I mean it's family," Donna Eby said.

The auction raised approximately $22,000 for Grace Academy's building fund, according to Chad Wingert, business manager of the academy.

"We're very pleased," Wingert said. "This is the best we've done in four years."

Last year's auction raised $17,000.

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The money will go toward paying for the new classroom wing and the mortgage on the 13321 Cearfoss Pike building the school moved into in 2001, event publicist Jackie Kenworthy and event co-chairwoman Alison Steward said.

The Christian school has about 325 students, event officials said.

More than 500 items were donated for the silent and live auctions. They included four-wheelers, a lawn mower, several handmade quilts and a deep sea fishing trip to Ocean City, Md.

"We cannot express enough thanks to the community," said Steward, whose fellow co-chairwoman was Sue Fahey.

Ken Wallech of Greencastle, Pa., cast the winning $375 bid for the handprint quilt Eby had wanted.

The decision to bid on the quilt featuring the class members' names and handprints in red or blue paint was made in the moment when the price started out low, Wallech said.

His granddaughter, sitting next to him, didn't even realize he was bidding on the quilt, he said.

At first, Wallech said the quilt would be hung in his home, but then he said it might end up in his granddaughter's bedroom if Morgan Wallech, 6, sweet-talks her grandmother into it.

Charles Buffington of Smithsburg cast the winning $450 bid for a similar quilt featuring the handprints of students in Mrs. Hall's kindergarten class. His daughter, Allyson, 5, is in that class.

When Buffington, standing in the back, won the bid, his wife bounced in her front row seat in celebration as she held a baby.

"Our daughter wanted to sleep in the parking lot last night in the van so she could be here by 11 a.m." so she could get the quilt, Sharie Buffington said.

"I'll put it in her room," Sharie Buffington said of the quilt with a red border.

Gary Clever, 38, of Sharpsburg, said he didn't even realize his son had helped make a bird feeder that featured the names and thumbprints of the members of his pre-kindergarten class.

"He kept a secret real well," Clever said.

Clever said his son, Shane, 4, will be excited when he learns his father placed the winning $70 bid on the bird feeder.

Jim Fahey, who was helping describe items up for bid, told the audience he would have to bid for the bird feeder because his child helped make it.

Fahey helped drive the price up and got some teasing from auctioneer Clair Martin when he gave up on the bid. Martin and his son, Dale, donated their services for the event.

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