Darien Rotary Club Strikes Gold with Charity Auction

The "Pot O' Gold" theme at this year's Darien Rotary Club Auction was a hit.

The Darien Rotary Club met with friends Saturday night for their 27th annual charity auction at Ashton Place. The service organization was formed in 1974 to help serve the community of Darien.
The theme of this year's auction was “Pot O' Gold” in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The evening started with a silent auction. More than 300 items were on display, with everything from a signed Bears jersey to a weekend trip to Lake Geneva.
Afterward, dinner was served and club president Randy May thanked everyone for coming.
“Every dollar generated here tonight goes to someone in need,” May promised.
May also bragged that because of Rotary's international efforts, there has been only one case of polio in the world within the past year. In addition, the Darien Rotary Club has also supported the residents of Carmelite Carefree Village Retirement Center, and has given grants to more than 540 individuals.
At that point, auctioneer Larry Little took over. The bidding started with a heads or tails game in which most of the audience participated. The winner, Bob Pachmayer, received $520 credited to him for his bids throughout the evening. Pachmayer took advantage of it by immediately bidding on, and winning, a cake for his thrilled table.
Rotary Club member Eric Martzolf left with one of the auction's most exciting items, an African safari. While Martzolf has never been to Africa before, he claimed he has always wanted to go. His wife, who will be accompanying him on the trip, smiled in awe. Martzolf said he got the trip as a birthday gift to her.
Besides its usual charity, this year the club has chosen to work with the Assistance League of Chicagoland West's project “Operation School Bell” for the Rotary Club's “fund a project.” The project provides new winter coats to students at or below the poverty line in the DuPage area.
Carla Feinkind was there to represent the League and ask for bids. Their goal for the night was $10,000. Rotary Club member Margaret Simak, who had not even heard of the program previously, matched that goal in the first bid.
The bidding went on to earn the project $16,150. Feinkind was overwhelmed by the crowd's extreme generosity.
“Thank you so much. This is ridiculous! Thank you!” Feinkind said.
The Rotary Club exceeded its goal of raising $40,000 by $7,000—and did so with a smaller crowd than usual. As the auction drew to a close, most stuck around to enjoy each others company as they sipped drinks and finished their desserts.

Carla Feinkind accepts donation on behalf of ALCW