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Weekend bonanza benefits Parent-Child Center

July 03, 2007|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

WILLIAMSPORT - Diana Shepherd surveyed the items on the silent auction tables and set to work. She bid on cat carriers for a sibling who has no cats and volleyballs for another sibling who has no interest in the game.

Some people go to the Hagerstown Exchange Club's annual Pig Roast and Bonanza to support a cause - child abuse prevention - and for the possibility of winning $1,000.

Shepherd, 58, of Hagerstown, and her four siblings like those prospects. But what they find truly irresistible about the event is the opportunity to spoof family members by pinning on them outlandish silent auction items for which they have no use.

"We're a bunch of fun-loving people. We try to find out each other's (bidding) numbers and bid for silly things. It goes to a good cause," Shepherd said.

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Shepherd said her father, Richard Long, 84, is a member of the exchange club. Long has purchased tickets for each of his five children and their spouses every year since the inception of the annual Pig Roast and Bonanza six years ago.

Shepherd and her family were among more than 150 people who attended this year's event Saturday, June 30, at Improved Order of Red Men Conococheague Tribe 84.

The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Parent-Child Center, a Hagerstown organization that operates various programs aimed at preventing child abuse.

Joe Consoletti, outgoing president of the board of directors for the Parent-Child Center, said the event is a "primary moneymaker" for the organization.

Millie Lowman, executive director of the Parent-Child Center, said she expected the event to bring in nearly $7,000 through ticket sales, the silent auction, raffles and tip jars.

Richard Vidoni, on his last day as president of the Hagerstown Exchange Club, attributed the success of the event to several factors.

"The chow is good. Members like to come with friends and family. The silent auction is interesting for a lot of people. And the bonanza is a chance to win $1,000," Vidoni said.

Vidoni, 69, of Hagerstown, said the Red Men provided food and facilities free of charge. He called the group one of the Parent-Child Center's biggest benefactors.

Effective Sunday, Vidoni replaced Consoletti, 68, of Williamsport, as board president for the Parent-Child Center.

Gladys Whipp of Williamsport, a volunteer at the Parent-Child Center, invited her son, Dave Obitts, and his wife, Peggy, to the event.

"There are parents and children out there that need help," Whipp said. "I want to do anything I can do to support them."

Dave Obitts, 45, of Hagerstown, watched as Consoletti drew ticket numbers from a barrel and pinned them to the bonanza board, working toward declaring a bonanza winner by process of elimination. Obitts said it was nice to spend some time with his mother, get something good to eat and try his luck at winning the cash.

"I'm waiting on the numbers, that's all," Obitts said.

While Obitts remained in the running for a time, eventually his luck ran out, and Consoletti drew his ticket number. The final ticket belonged to Bob Vanderlyn of Hagerstown, deeming him the $1,000 winner.

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