Boys & Girls Club nets some $150,000 from Sweet Home auction

Audrey Caro

A massive wood carving of loggers and other goodies resulted in a financial windfall for the Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Santiam Saturday night, Oct. 21, at the Community Center.

The Hawaii-themed Hula for Moola auction drew about 250 people.

“It went really really well,” said Executive Director Kris Latimer. “We exceeded our budget goals.”

Most of the expenses of the event were covered by sponsorships, she said.

“The gross for the event is $170,000 which means net should be around $150,000 by the time all the bills and miscellaneous are paid,” Latimer said.

The biggest selling item was “Showing Sweet Home’s Heritage,” a carving donated by Robin Miller and Mike Melcher.

“Over $30,000 was given to the Boys & Girls Club, showing support for the beautiful carving,” Latimer said. “Right now it is located at the Club. The plan is for it to become part of the museum. It is really breathtaking!”

Melcher said the East Linn Museum board of directors voted unanimously to house the piece and people are still donating.

“We still have money coming in,” Melcher said.

As of Oct. 24, the donations were up to $52,000.

“The whole thing started a year and a half ago,” Melcher said. “Robin Miller found an unusual tree on his tree farm in Crawfordsville.”

As its title indicates, the carving is representative of Sweet Home’s logging history.

Melcher and Miller met professional carver Jessee Strack, of Whidbey Island, at the chainsaw carving championships in Reedsport.

Strack worked on the statues of two men throughout the summer, Melcher said.

Carved into the body of the sculpture are scenes of steam locomotives and rail cars filled with logs.

An octagonal table Melcher built was the second-biggest seller of the night, Latimer said. It raised over $50,000.

Latimer said she appreciates the work of Wendi Melcher and Heather Search, who led the auction committee, as well as all the other volunteers who helped put on the evening.

Santiam Spray Service was the presenting sponsor and more than 100 donors gave individual items, Latimer said.

“I want to give a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the community,” Latimer said. “We appreciate everybody taking part and helping us reach our budget goals.

“By raising this much money we’ve paid for a little less than a quarter of the operating costs for Sweet Home.”