Edmonson County Helps Their Own At Annual Event
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
It was a record-breaking event today at the Edmonson County Community Center as bidders from across the county joined together in an effort to raise money for needy local seniors and children at the 13th Annual Santa's Secret Hands Benefit Auction.
The event is coordinated by Mark Wardlow and Jeff Rich, among others on the SSH team, where 100% of all proceeds go to it's intended purpose. That purpose is to help provide Christmas gifts as well as necessities for less fortunate elderly and children in Edmonson County. Over $37,000 was raised at today's auction.
"Before the auction even started, one guy gave me a $500 check. Another handed me $200. So many people came out today to help their own," said Wardlow, who is always adamant about not receiving any credit for the event. "Listen, $37,000 is a number you might expect to hear about an event in Warren or Grayson County because of their size. Sometimes others look down on a small county like ours, but we have another reason to be proud of our little community after today."
The biggest ticket items were featured at the start of the auction, which included a Yamaha golf cart, a new bedroom suite, and three separate lower level UK men's basketball games, including one against Louisville. The games also included a hotel stay and Rafferty's gift cards. Those items alone brought a total of $12,000.
Homemade pies and cakes were also popular items. The yummy treats raised more than $1,000.
The group already raised $7500 at a golf scramble earlier in the year. That amount, the auction, and more expected donations could amount to somewhere in the neighborhood of $50K.
"This will simply allow us to help even more people than ever," said Wardlow. "Our goal every year is to help as many as possible. Hopefully we can even build a little surplus that will allow us to help throughout the year when someone loses their home or belongings in a fire or other emergencies."
Wardlow also said that the group has filed for 501C Non-Profit Status that will allow them to do even more. A scholarship for an ECHS student is also in the works for the near future.
On behalf of everyone involved with SSH, Wardlow sent out a genuine thank you to the entire community, all bidders, and all donors. He said the group is in the process of compiling a list of those to thank that will be published in the Edmonson Voice soon.
"We had more bidders than ever, our crowd was the biggest ever, and when they told me how much was raised, all I could say was 'Wow,' I mean, that's huge."
The amount raised at this year's auction was more than a 50% increase from last year's total of $24,000.