HERMISTON - For 25 years the Hermiston community has reaped the benefits of the Altrusa International of Hermiston auction.

The first auction was held at Thompson Hall with Dorothy Juve, charter member and now emeritus member, serving as the chairwoman. Members were assigned to serve on the following committees: Publicity, physical arrangements, procurement, auction management, refreshments and money management. Since the event was planned to become an annual project, all committee chairmen are urged to keep extensive notes to be incorporated into one file for future reference.

The second auction was planned for June, but moved to October, again at Thompson Hall, with a baked goods table and a miscellaneous table of used items donated by members. The fall date has remained.

Today the auction has grown and it takes all 45 members working together to be successful. Besides serving on various committees, each member is responsible for gathering auction items and selling raffle tickets.

"It's mandatory that everyone who's able help," said Linda Gilleese, longtime member.

The event has moved over the years from Thompson Hall to the Cottage and this year it will take place at the Hermiston Community Center allowing more room for the dinner and auction. Connie Ferranti, co-chair of the event is excited about the changes this year, including entertainment by the Hermiston High School Choir.

"We are looking forward to a bigger and better auction in our new location," said Jackie Wheelhouse, Altrusa president. "It's real exciting."

The first auction grossed $4,110 and netted $3,737. Nancy Brown was club president at the time.

"One of the fun things we've done is auction Chuck Norris' ties," Brown said. "We've sold Dr. Marvin Johns' suspenders."

The auction has been the club's only major fund-raiser for many years. Community service projects during the early years included donations to the police department Christmas baskets, Sunset Elementary reading project, fire stickers, baby room at the day care center, fire prevention van for audio-visual equipment, band concert and ice cream social in the park, Meadowood Speech Camp, summer parks program and a scholarship for a woman for further training or schooling.

The club continues to use the profits from its auction to benefit community projects throughout the year. Projects the club supports today include Christmas Basket Dolls, Domestic Violence Services, Agape House, SMART Reading Program, Hermiston Library, Make A Difference Day, Operation Book Builder, Eighth Grade Girls Night In and college scholarships.

Auction items this year include new items and services provided by local businesses. Items and services are also included in baskets with themes such as sports, get-aways, pets and beauty needs.

Members are selling tickets for two drawings. The first is a $1,000 gift certificate from IJ Gems and the second raffle item is a 7mm Ruger hunting rifle with scope valued at more than $800.


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