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Volunteers are key to Gala Auction's success

Organizers say annual fundraiser should bring in $66,000 to $70,000 to fight cancer

Organizers say annual fundraiser should bring in $66,000 to $70,000 to fight cancer

April 27, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

WAYNESBORO, PA. - More than 650 miles separated Matt Hurley from the Gala Auction in Waynesboro on Saturday.

That didn't stop the 35-year-old from attending the 27th annual event.

Hurley ran a marathon in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday morning before jumping on a plane in hopes of making a fashionably late entrance to the event, which benefited the American Cancer Society.

"He left (Friday) morning and started running at 7 (a.m. Saturday)," said Matt's mother, Barb Hurley, who anxiously awaited his arrival. "He just wanted to be here to do something to help the cause."

Matt Hurley has two children diagnosed with cancer, and he began lending support weeks before the auction. He took in and sold material donations at his full-service auction company - Matthew S. Hurley Auction Co. - with the proceeds going to benefit the Gala Auction as well as St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

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"I've helped with this auction as long as (Matt) has," said Barb Hurley, who estimated their Gala Auction service at 15 years. "This is the first year he took donations at his own auction, though."

The Gala Auction once again was on the second floor of the Eagles Club in downtown Waynesboro. The silent auction started at 4 p.m. and included almost 200 items, ranging from gift certificates and kitchen appliances to baked goods and local arts and crafts.

An oral auction of close to 150 items began at 5:30 p.m. and was expected to last through the evening. The largest of the items up for bid was an 85-square-foot playhouse standing 10 feet high that had to be parked at the town square.

Other items included tickets to entertainment and sporting events, seats from the original Waynesboro Area Senior High School auditorium, a solid oak cradle and a Nintendo Wii.

"We should bring in anywhere from $66,000 to $70,000 when it's all over," event chairwoman Jill Kessler said. "That includes all monetary donations we've gotten and the proceeds from the food that was sold."

Kessler estimated the auction staff to as many as 70, which consisted of the steering committee, auctioneers, solicitors and table workers. Even students from the National Honor Society turned out to handle kitchen duties.

"They are all volunteers. We've never had anyone turn down the opportunity to help out," Kessler said. "And we never have to question whether each person will pull their own might because most of them go above and beyond."

Nathan Kauffman, a junior at Waynesboro Area Senior High School, worked at a baked goods table at the front of the room, but that wasn't all he offered. Kauffman chose the theme for this year's auction - "Building a World Without Cancer" - which was printed on shirts worn by the auction workers.

"I thought of it because of all the construction going on at the high school," said Kauffman, who attended the auction for the first time, but said it won't be the last. "This is important because just about everybody has been affected by cancer at some point in their life."

Kessler said all proceeds from the Gala Auction go directly to the American Cancer Society's local Franklin County unit in Chambersburg, Pa.

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