- Last Updated on 08:02 AM 04/02/14
- BY Special to The Gazette
“A resounding success. There is no other way to describe it.”
That’s how organizers of the Reid Roller benefit described Saturday’s event in Clover.
Despite the gloomy, wet weather that day, crowds flocked in from all over the county and beyond to Mt. Laurel Ruritan Club.
The stew was a sellout, the barbecue dinner was a sellout with several turned away, prize tickets overflowed the squirrel cage, and bids at the auction were crazy high, according to Ruritan member James Kraft.
Rounding out the two meals were delicious homemade pies and other deserts, all donated by various groups and individuals. Every space of counter and tabletop in the clubhouse kitchen was loaded with pies.
“You couldn’t sit down to cut the pies because space on the benches was needed for more pies,” Kraft said.
All of this for the purpose of raising money to help pay medical bills related to Reid Roller’s tragic car crash last summer.
Grand prize winner was Butch Barker. When his ticket was drawn, he immediately donated his $500 prize back to the benefit earnings. The second and third place winners, not present at the event, will be notified, Kraft said.
Stormy weather forecasts, worsening day by day leading up to the event, made the need for tents critical. The big tent was provided by Ivan Mast, and the smaller tents, tables and chairs were provided by Shawn Torian.
More tents were provided by Triangle Volunteer Fire Department and John Scheier. Also, Bo’s Hydraulics provided a generator to help keep things running.
Although there were some delays, shortages and lines, no one remembers hearing any complaints, Kraft said.
“Despite the wet rainy weather, everyone was patient, polite, generous and supportive of the event,” he added.
Benefit organizers said they are most appreciative of the good will, understanding and spirit of generosity displayed by the public.
“Even some who came for the sole purpose of enjoying themselves, seeing a need, pitched in to help. This was a remarkable display of humanity at its very best,” Kraft said.
A variety of music groups - Nellie Jones, Mark and Linda Satterfield, the Blue Grass Five, the Halifax Hillbillies and the Hard Times - kept everyone entertained throughout the afternoon.
Organizers extended a sincere thank you to these groups for making “such a sweet sound of music on a wet chilly day.”
Later in the day, Carlton Gravitt auctioned off a number of donated items, including gift certificates from Windmill Farm Bake Shop, O’ Sole Mio, Dinis Brothers Pizza, Romas, Italian Delight, Mi Carreta, Four Oaks Restaurant, Smoking Jake’s Restaurant, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, Spainhour Diner, Sweet Cakes Bakery, Ernie’s and Pino’s Restaurant.
Other auction items included a dulcimer made by Tim Owen and an “Oil on Canvas” framed painting by Couch and Throckmorton Auctions. Other donors to the auction included Kent East, Puckett Dodge, Abbott Farm Supply, Elizabeth Talley, T & M Construction, South Boston Speedway, Reese’s Farms, Wayne Holt, Charles Hazelwood, Cecil and Gayle Roller, Bobby Whitlow, members of the Amish community, Sushine Mills, Heritage House Furniture, the Tvilum furniture company, Enchanted Surroundings and LeRave Jewelry.
Ward Burton donated one of his personal racing uniforms and a jacket along with other NASCAR memorabilia. Many other anonymous donors supported the auction.
“Not only did Janice Torian donate an eight-foot oriental rug, she also organized and ran the entire auction. Thank you, Janice,” Kraft said, adding, “The staccato of the auctioneer’s voice energized people to pull out their pocket books for a good cause. Thank you, Carlton.”
Preliminary figures point to a gross of $40,000 for the entire event with expenses to come out of that at around $5,000 to $6,000.
“Not too bad for an event that was close to being rained out. Whatever the final figures, this was one of the most successful benefits the Mt. Laurel Ruritans have organized,” Kraft said.
The Ruritan club couldn’t have done this alone, according to Kraft.
“Without the help of many volunteers, it would not have been possible. Thanks also go to the many stores, businesses and individuals in the county who helped distribute tickets for the prize drawing, to our local radio stations and newspapers for helping to get the word out and to the entertainers who donated their time and talent. Thank you to the ones who came early to set up, and to the ones who stayed late to clean up and to the ones who did both. Finally, the Mt. Laurel Ruritans thank all the members of the community who attended and supported this event,” he concluded.