HOULTON – For the Houlton Rotary Club, preparation for the organization’s 52nd annual Rotary Radio & TV Auction entailed months of intense work, but all of that labor will translate into a happier play experience for children in Houlton and the surrounding communities.
“The auction went great,” said Rotarian Fred Grant. “We had great community participation and we are expecting to net around $42,000 once all of our expenses are met.”
This year’s auction ran Nov. 19-21 and was touted as the club’s biggest and most varied auction to date.
It was dedicated to Otis Putnam and J. Thomas Fitzpatrick, both of whom were Rotarians who died this fall.
A large percentage of the proceeds from this year’s auction will be contributed to the Houlton Elementary School playground and the Houlton Parks and Recreation playground.
The two playgrounds, each in different locations in town, are huge attractions for local children.
Volunteers at HES conducted fundraisers for more than a year to piece together a new playground at the school this summer, outfitting it with bright, durable equipment, including tube slides, climbing ladders, swing sets and activity panels.
Money raised through the recent auction will help the group add additional equipment to the site.
Plans also are in the works to expand and renovate the Parks and Recreation Playground in Community Park.
Additional local groups and organizations, including the Houlton Community Arts Center, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine and the Little League baseball field project, also will benefit from auction proceeds.
Several items were up for bid, including food, crafts, electronics and gift certificates to area stores. While the Rotarians were thrilled with the bids recorded on all items, they were especially enthusiastic about pledges made to the Boy and the Boot Endowment Fund, which benefits the Houlton Regional Health Services Foundation.
Each $1,000 pledge to the fund netted the bidder a pewter replica of the famed statue in Pierce Park.
“We sold 11 statues this year, so we raised $11,000 for the endowment fund,” Grant said. “It was a stellar year for that, so we are so happy about that.”
Rotarians will begin doling out the proceeds to the various groups that will benefit from the club’s effort in the next few weeks.
Jen Lynds may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 532-9257