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Rotary auction brightens day for four local organizations

October 25, 2005|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

"If you put Christmas on a dog, she'd buy it," Jim Haught said of his wife, Wanna Lee Haught.

There were no dogs up for auction Sunday evening, Oct. 23, at the fourth annual Sun Rises Over Rotary Auction, but Wanna Lee Haught did manage to track down and place a winning bid on a ceramic Christmas-themed bowl.

The Haughts, both 73, of Hagerstown, also carried home an oil painting entitled "A Sharpsburg House in Fall."

With about 130 silent-auction items and 150 live-auction items, the crowd of about 270 people at Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway had plenty of bidding options.

Kay Hoffman, 55, of Williamsport, amassed Baltimore Orioles tickets for her son; a handmade oak children's rocking horse for a friend's grandchild; topsoil to take to work; and a plant, a celadon vase and a 1950s model View-Master for herself; and she was still on the hunt.

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"I'm not done yet. I need to find something for my daughter. I've got my eye on a bracelet," Hoffman said.

Rotarian Bill Weakley, 58, of Hagerstown, said he placed a bid and won a tea set in the silent auction.

"My wife is from Russia and she loves tea," he said.

Hagerstown Sunrise Rotary President Bill Fritts, 42, of Hagerstown, said the auction raised more than $140,000 in its first three years. Rotary members were hoping to top $60,000 at Sunday's auction to reach the $200,000 mark.

Fritts said this year's auction will benefit four local organizations - REACH Caregivers, Safe Place Child Advocacy Center, the Washington County Arts Council and the Arc of Washington County. The four organizations partnered with the Rotary Club to sell event and raffle tickets and to provide at least one auction item valued at a minimum of $1,000.

Terri Baker, executive director of REACH Caregivers, said her organization has reaped more than just financial benefits from the auction in past years.

"Some Rotarians got to know us and became volunteers for us. They're really in tune to the needs of the community," Baker said. "I'm glad we're one of their passions."

Auction Chairwoman Kathy Harple of Hagerstown credited fellow Rotarian Manny Shaool with providing numerous auction items including oriental rugs, paintings and pottery. Shaool worked along with auctioneer Norman O'Neal, teasing bidders and cajoling them to up the ante.

"Who said $1,400 for that rug?" Shaool asked, in reference to a rug with a much higher market value. "I want you to come here and touch this thing. Come on ... Let go the money!" he said.

Harple said a portion of the auction proceeds would also go toward the Sunrise Rotary Foundation's Waltersdorf-Henson Endowment Challenge. Through the Community Foundation of Washington County, the John M. Waltersdorf family and the Richard A. Henson Foundation will match as much as $100,000 for the Sunrise Rotary over the next five years. Sunrise Rotary is one of 16 beneficiaries of the endowment.

Harple said she is excited about the endowment opportunity because it allows the rotary club to filter additional funding back into the community.

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