Local dinner committee earns another award

The fifth-annual OFAH conservation dinner Saturday night at La Place Rendez-Vous was another huge success, committee chairman Vic Alberts enthused.
Although the exact amount of money raised had yet to be determined (it won’t be known for at least two weeks), all indications point to another impressive fundraiser.
In fact, while just 150 tickets were sold for this year’s dinner/auction, that number far exceeded the committee’s expectations.
“It was a real good turnout–better than we expected,” Alberts said Monday afternoon. “We expected 100 with the mill strike, and considering the hard times, it was excellent.”
The local dinner committee also was honoured by the OFAH for raising the most money in the province at last year’s dinner–the third consecutive year they’ve done that. Committee member Catherine McGuire was quick to praise the support of the local community.
“We were very happy with the all the local artists, the people really liked their stuff, especially guys like Ray Coran and Alan Anderson,” she noted, also stressing the importance of the donations from area businesses.
She attributed the success of the dinner as people having a genuine interest in conservation in Northwestern Ontario.
“We couldn’t do it without the town behind us and all the area merchants who helped to contribute to the dinner,” echoed Alberts, who admitted to already planning for next year’s dinner.
“To win the award for three consecutive years is very special and it’s really a feather in the hat for the community,” he said. “But we couldn’t do it without all the people in the community from as far as Sioux Narrows to Nestor Falls, Mine Centre, Stratton, and all the way to the border.”
Money raised from this year’s dinner will go towards the local Junior Conservation Club, the elk restoration project, and the “adopt-a-school” program. And Alberts believes the success of the dinner stems heavily in the people’s belief in where the local OFAH members decide to spend the money.
“The average person believes in what we are doing and they believe it’s a necessity,” he remarked.
The feature piece of the evening, and which also fetched the top price ($1,175), was a moose antler carving by Robert A. Baron, taken home by Dale LaBelle.
Next highest was the “mystery print,” which turned out to be “Outflow,” an artist proof remarque signed by Michael Dumas, which went to Leon DeGagne for $1,000.
The special raffle sportsmen’s package, compliments of McTaggarts, was won by Darryl DeGagne. Shelley Gustafson won the kid’s golf package while Shana Berry captured the 18-karat gold ladies’ watch, sponsored by Mario’s Jewellers.
The early-bird draw winner was Joan Gustafson, who picked up an installed command start by Kupila’s Sound Center.
Some of the top live auction raffle winners included Eldon Mose, who paid $450 for Alan Anderson’s hard-carved duck; Peter Leek, who purchased “Cabin Fever” by Darrell Bush for $500; Leon DeGagne, who paid $500 for Brent Benger’s “Fishing Lesson”; Rick Johnston bought “Fireside Companions” by Paul Calle for $550; Tony Petkop paid $490 for “Phantom of the North” by Larry Fanning; and Shelley Gustafson paid $475 for “Bringing Home the Tree” and “Memories of Home,” a two-piece set by Kevin Dodds.
Several door prizes, including a quilted wall hanging of a buck, were handed out Saturday. A “21 Card Draw” also was held, as were 51 items for a silent auction and 30 more for the live auction.