Dollars from the heart

Auction raises money for youth, seniors, hospital

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— Ed Durnil turned to the lively crowd and warned would-be bidders that their time was almost up.

"Five minutes, folks," Durnil said. "Then the sports memorabilia items are no longer up for grabs."

The Kentucky auctioneer was on hand Friday evening to yell out the items for sale at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

The fourth annual benefit auction and cocktail party was held in conjunction with the Ski Town USA Golf Classic.

Proceeds from Friday night's event and the two-day golf tournament benefit the Yampa Valley Medical Center, Steamboat Rotary's youth and senior programs and Doak Walker Memorial endowment scholarships.

Tables featuring similar items such as "trips and outdoor adventures," "goods and services" and "artwork and photography" drew bidders from across the state and region.

Ron Branish, vice president of the Craig Hospital in Denver, was hoping to show off his golf swing at the tournament while helping out another hospital with a bid or two.

"This is an incredible opportunity to give something back," he said. "That so many people in Steamboat Springs alone will forget about their pocketbooks and give with their hearts is an incredible testament to this community's generosity."

Branish has attended three of the four benefit auctions and is already looking forward to next year's event.

Organizers hope to raise about $150,000 from the auction and golf tournament. Much of the money will go to improve cancer treatment services at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

Donations to the auction ranged from a ceramic urn to pricey vacation packages in paradise, each accompanied with a minimum bid prices and raise amounts.

The highest bid by the time the auctioneer called the table was named the winning bid.

During the live auction, people bid by raising their bid number. The fastest hand to catch the eye of the auctioneer won the coveted item.

Bonnie Boylan, one of the event's coordinators, works throughout the year to prepare the items for auction.

People were donating items as late as Friday afternoon, Boylan said. The public outpouring of items for auction has been overwhelming, she said.

"What we have here is an example of people from all walks of life donating what they can," Boylan said. "Size and worth doesn't matter here. It's the thoughtfulness behind the donation that counts."

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