Tree auction fundraising tops $35,000

Amidst glowing lights and holiday music, more than $35,000 was raised at the annual Christmas Tree Auction fundraiser held at the Bass Lake Event Center of The Pines Resort. This total is a combination of $15,841 raised for the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, and an additional $19,239 benefited other community non-profits.

Also included in the total are the silent auction, which raised $4,911, and the raffle, which raised $1,391 at the event attended by about 200.

Not only was the Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) Coarsegold Chapter, the tallest tree in the room but it also brought a record bid of $6,000 by Peggy Jamison, who donated the tree to Valley Children’s Hospital. The tree was decorated with little gold-colored bags, each holding a gift card. There was also a small blue box included with the tree, containing a mystery Tiffany & Co. gift.

Jamison also was the winning bidder at $2,200 for the tree bringing the second highest amount at the auction. That tree was sponsored by the Sierra Sunrise Rotary Club with both the Boys & Girls Club and the local Toys for Tots programs as beneficiaries.

A third tree went to Jamison who bid $900 for the Yosemite High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) tree, which came with a table crafted by an FFA welding student. The tabletop was made of Ponderosa pine that had been milled at the high school using logs donated by Sierra Central Pest Control.

The live tree decorated by Paulina Lusk, Tami Michel, Linda Gott-Maddox and Joann Noonkester for the Eastern Madera County Relay for Life featured sliced and dried lemons, grapefruits and oranges along with birdseed ornaments and oranges with cloves, all “bird friendly.” That tree brought the third highest bid, at $1,050, from Dennis and Kathy Creighton.

The tree sponsored by Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply to help raise funds for the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park was decorated in a “dog” theme and came complete with a dog house.

A rectangular wreath to benefit the Boys & Girls Club created by Katherine Emerick, another in the shape of the profile of a horse’s head sponsored by Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply, and another with clear plastic balls filled with dirt from the Sierra Mountain Little League (SMLL) field were some of the non-traditional wreaths. The SMLL wreath was created by Maria Myaskovsky who has two sons, Brixton, 4, and Brighton Miller, 5, who play in the league.

Jennifer Simmons, who took over as the director of the Boys & Girls Club in October, was in attendance as were Maria Simmons and Sean Heath who are both new staff members.

Three major changes were made for the auction this year, according to co-chair Melanie Barker, who is also on the Boys & Girls Club board of directors. Tim Sisil, a professional auctioneer, kept bidding lively as he interacted with the audience and Albert Figueroa served as the disc jockey for the evening playing music and announcing silent auction table closing times. The third change involved limiting the number of full-size trees that were a part of the live auction.

The Boys & Girls Club board of directors also includes Bob Macaulay, president, Jerry Lebovitz, Jessica Trettin, Shawna Petrushkin, Liane Daniels, Eric Wood and Renee McGovern.

Serving as co-chairs of the event with Barker were Christy Smith and Donna Smith, who were joined by other Tree Auction committee members: Emerick, Jim Elliott, Laura Norman, Michel, Cyd Muramoto, Sandy Saelens, Sandy McNally, Daniels, Karen Christensen, Karen Bradley, Amberley Pick, David Salisbury, Ron Colgate and Brenin Anderson.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club: