Community supports Good Samaritan event

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"The weather was a little rainy ahead of time and we were holding our breath, but by 4:30 p.m. it turned out to be a perfect evening to come out," Presbyterian Village Executive Director Ginger Dierksen said.

On April 30, the Presbyterian Village celebrated 15 years of business, along with their annual auction and dinner to benefit Fort Scott Presbyterian Village's Good Samaritan Fund. The event raised more than $15,000, according to Dierksen.

"We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful evening for people to come out and have a great time," Dierksen said.

All proceeds from the event remain at Fort Scott Presbyterian Village to help fund the Good Samaritan program. This fund ensures that residents who qualify can continue to live at the Village, regardless of their ability to pay.

"In our company's 60-year history, not one resident has ever been asked to leave due to a lack of funds," Dierksen said. "The Fort Scott Village commitment remains strong to our mission with the help of caring people who support the Good Samaritan Program. For this year's event, we sold a little over 620 meals and hundreds of cruise tickets. We are so grateful to this community for recognizing the importance of this program and of the Presbyterian Village's mission."

Although a number of ticket-buyers chose to pick up their meals at the drive-through, there was a good-sized crowd on hand for the silent and live auctions. Fort Scott resident Sharon Campbell was the big winner of the evening, landing a pair of tickets for a five-day Western Caribbean cruise.

The cruise was sponsored by Cheney Witt Memorial Chapel, Citizen Bank, N.A., City State Bank, Diehl, Banwart, Bolton, CPA's, P.A., Danny and Willa Ellis, Jo and Jim Nixon, Shepherd Team Auto Plaza and the Shepherd Family, Union State Bank, United Missouri Bank, Carl and Irene Worthington.

"Area businesses and residents always help make our auction a hit," Dierksen said. "We start gathering new items each year as soon as the event is over, and these donors are extremely generous in ensuring the success of the Good Samaritan fundraiser."

Dierksen also expressed appreciation to Pat Harry for providing beautiful dinner entertainment, as well as to Presbyterian Village's dedicated volunteers. She added, Lisa Ward, from the Fort Scott High School, has provided high school volunteers each year, Jim Stewart and Larry Mewhinney auctioned with great poise, while Fred Hixon, Tim Byrd, Jim Nixon, J.R. Stewart and others set up. They also thanked KOMB, FM103.9, and the Fort Scott Tribune.

"We could never pull this event off each year without our volunteers," Dierksen said. "From baking all of our great desserts to helping with parking, ticket sales, advertising, drive through and set-up, cake cutters and food boxers, our volunteers are the best."

"The evening was so much fun that it was easy to forget we were supposed to be 'working' to raise funds," Dierksen said. "I'm so proud to be part of such a great community where everyone pulls together for the better good. There's no greater feeling than to know you've made a significant difference in the lives of others. I hope the entire community realizes how very important they are to our seniors."

Businesses and residents interested in donating items for next year's fundraiser and auction are encouraged to contact Presbyterian Village, at (620) 223-5550.

Donors' gifts -- from candlesticks to automobiles -- can be tax deductible, and Village staff will help with any applicable paperwork.