ELKINS - The Elkins-Randolph County United Way Auction may have changed venues this year, but its tradition of success remained, thanks to a plethora of support from the community.
The organization raised more than $16,000 from about 185 donated items at Saturday's annual auction, held at the Randolph County Community Arts Center.
"It was a good day, with lots of participation," said Gary Clay, a United Way board member. "There were a lot of folks that came out this year. Overall, it was a really good day, and we had great support from the community.
Elkins-Randolph County United Way Executive Director JoBeth Agnor shows West Virginia University memorabilia during the annual United Way Auction Saturday at the Randolph County Community Arts Center. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Matthew Burdette)
Proceeds from the auction will go to support the United Way's 27 partnering agencies, which are the American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Charities West Virginia, Energy Express, Foster Grandparent Program, Girl Scouts Black Diamond Council, Helping Hand Clearinghouse, Elkins/Randolph County Library, Helvetia Library, Pioneer Library, Tygart Valley Library, Valley Head Library, Literacy Volunteers of West Virginia, Meals on Wheels, North Central Community Action (Homeless Shelter), Randolph County Cancer Support Group, Randolph County Children's Advocacy Center, Randolph County Domestic Training & Referral, Randolph County Emergency Squad, Randolph County Family Resource Network, Randolph County Humane Society, Randolph County Senior Center, Randolph County Sheltered Workshop (Seneca Designs), Senior Companion Program, Women's Aid In Crisis, Elkins-Randolph County YMCA and Youth Health Services.
This year's donated items included everything from sports memorabilia and antiques to homemade pies and decorations.
"We were a little worried about the change (in venue)," Clay said. "We started out with 90 chairs, and I've had to add several throughout the morning. Bidding has been outstanding."
"One of the pies from this morning went for $275," Clay added. "Everybody has done an outstanding job."
Many, including Del. Bill Hartman, were impressed with the wealth of items donated this year.
"They have some really nice items," Hartman said. "The United Way leaders have done a great job with making this happen. The money goes to a very good cause, and this (the auction) has become almost a tradition in Elkins."
Elkins Mayor Van Broughton stressed not only the community involvement, but also praised the many volunteers and staff members at the United Way.
"This money goes to help fund a lot of agencies," Broughton said. "The organizations and the people from the public that donated items deserve a lot of thanks. And, the volunteers who came out and gave up their Saturday to put on this great auction are fantastic."
The mayor even got into the spirit of the event, bidding on several items and winning four passes to Kennywood Amusement Park near Pittsburgh.
"I've got four people in my neighborhood that I'm going to give these (passes) to," Broughton said. "It will be like an early Christmas present or mini vacation."
Broughton wasn't the only one in the giving spirit Saturday, as community members and officials - from Randolph County Commissioner Mike Taylor to businessman Mike Ross, Del. Denise Campbell and West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick - helped to push the auction total to another level.
"I can't say enough about the community," Clay said. "To see all these people here helping to make a difference is great. This really is one of my favorite times of year."
Auctioneers for the event included Helmick, Bill Johnson and Ron Phillips.
"This (the support) is why we live in the greatest community in West Virginia," Broughton said.