VIENNA – Community members and supporters turned out Saturday for the 33rd annual Harvest of Opportunities Benefit Auction for SW Resources at Grand Point Conference Center in Vienna, purchasing various items of interest and helping a longtime pillar of the community in the process.
Tera Klein, executive director of SW Resources, said an estimated 150-200 people attended Saturday’s auction and preliminary estimates indicate about $90,000 was raised through the event. Final numbers on the amount raised should be available early this week, she said.
In addition raising money for SW Resources, Saturday’s auction also helped mark the program’s 50th anniversary.
SW Resources provides employment opportunities and vocational services to roughly 250 client-employees with disabilities. In the last several years the client-employee wages reached record highs of more than $2 million.
Klein said she was very pleased with the turnout for Saturday’s auction, which was being held for its 33rd year.
“We are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, so we’re kind of wrapping that into it a bit,” she said of the milestones. “We have some historical information for people to see how we’ve grown over 50 years. This is such a big part of our growth over the past 33 years, especially. It started out as a fundraiser to help us with that new growth.
“It’s just a great time for everybody to come together and support a fantastic organization,” Klein said of the auction.
Debbie Rogers, of Parkersburg, served as chairman of the auction committee for Saturday’s event, and was pleased with the “great turnout” and the support shown by the community in preparing for the auction.
With over 10 years of involvement in the event, she has seen continued growth in interest and involvement in the auction.
“The auction, I think, gets bigger every year,” she said.
Former Parkersburg resident Sam Rogers has been serving on the SW Resources board for two years and despite moving to Beckley, he has remained active in the program and continues to return for the annual auction, as he did Saturday evening.
“I love the event, it’s my favorite SW event. You see all kinds of people come out to support SW Resources and help them raise funds that we so badly need,” Rogers said.
“It’s a huge asset for the community,” he said of SW Resources. “They do so much, not only for Parkersburg and Wood County but the surrounding area. They help so many people,” Rogers said.
The 2013 auction auction raised about $90,000 for SW Resources.
More than 250 items were donated for the auction this year by community members and businesses. A 75-minute silent auction kicked off the evening, following the live auction which ran from nearly four hours Saturday, Klein said.
A variety of items, ranging from memorabilia like a signed guitar to items like electronics, crafts, purses, jewelry and others were featured in the auction. Sports items for the auction included football season tickets to West Virginia University as well as season passes to both Parkersburg and Parkersburg South high schools.
The auction is the only true fundraiser SW Resources holds each year and the money raised goes to the program’s workshop and aids the job placement program, officials said.
The sponsors for this year’s event were Harry and Kathe Deitzler, Grand Pointe Conference Center and The PM Company, Groggs Heating and Air Conditioning, Highmark West Virginia, TheNewsCenter, WesBanco Bank and Woodcraft.
Ben Summers, SW Resources marketing and sales manager, praised the continued support of those and other sponsors that have aided the auction and SW Resources over the years.
“They really show their strength in continuing to support this event and support SW Resources,” he said.
“They really help make this happen and make this a nice event,” Summers said of the auction.