PRESQUE ISLE – The Presque Isle Rotary Club wrapped up its 67th annual Radio and TV Auction on a high note, raising more than $410,000 during the three-night event and surpassing its $25,000 fundraising goal for its special project—by more than $300,000.

Presque Isle Rotary Club

This year’s event was held on Dec. 2-4 and broadcast live—by Time Warner Cable and Townsquare Media—from the Northeastland Hotel. Auction Co-Chairs Frank Bemis and Gina LeBlanc-Eggert and more than 100 Presque Isle Rotarians helped to pull off the 2014 auction, working on everything from taking in auction bids by phone to serving as auctioneers to filming the activity for local broadcast. Funds raised during the event benefited eight non-profit organizations in the region and the auction’s Special Project, the Presque Isle Community Center.

The 2014 auction featured nearly 600 items—including 3-night special items, one-night items, half-hour items, and art auction items—generously given by more than 180 donors. The total value of these items was estimated at more than $46,000.

“Presque Isle Rotarians, with the help of local businesses, came together again to ensure that the auction was a complete success,” Bemis said. “In our 67th year, the auction has proved to be both fun and helpful to our community. It was encouraging to hear so many people say they heard us on the radio, saw us on the television or that they contributed to the auction by donating or purchasing an item. Best of all will be the difference we can make with local charities.”

More than $377,500 was raised for the Presque Isle Community Center as the Special Project. That money will help to fund the construction of a facility to be located within walking distance of Downtown Presque Isle that includes a gymnasium, multi-purpose rooms, a walking track, a pool and splash pad, and space designed to meet the needs of young families, teens and seniors. The project, which provides something for citizens of every age, complements the City’s efforts to improve the region’s business climate and provides another reason for business to relocate to Presque Isle and remain here.

In addition to the Special Project, the annual Rotary Auction raised funds through its regular auction to benefit several local groups.

 

  • Martha and Mary’s Ministries received $3,500 to assist in the purchase of a new commercial-grade stove with venting hood to serve those in need of a meal.

 

  • Catholic Charities received $3,000 to assist in purchasing a chisel plow for the Farm for ME project, adding to the program’s farming equipment to expand growing options as they provide locally grown produce to people in need.

 

  • The Central Aroostook Humane Society received $2,000 to assist in purchasing a fire detection system to provide a safe and secure environment for the animals at the shelter.

 

  • Wintergreen Arts Center received $1,500 to assist in the implementation of the Summer Session Arts Program.

 

  • The United Way of Aroostook received $2,000 to assist in promoting literacy and increasing reading frequency in families by getting a book each month to every Aroostook County child from birth until the age of 5 years old.

 

  • C.A.N.C.E.R received $1,000 to assist in the continued creation and distribution of C.A.N.C.E.R comfort bags to help local individuals diagnosed with cancer and receiving treatment at CARY and TAMC.

 

  • The University of Maine Presque Isle’s Geology Department received $500 to assist in the expense of an Aroostook County student to do educational travel.

 

  • Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp received $500 to fund scholarships for local students to attend the Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp.

Another major component of the auction was the annual art auction. The Presque Isle Rotary Club partnered with Wintergreen Arts Center on the effort, with all proceeds going toward children’s programming at the center. Up for bid at the 2014 auction were art pieces ranging from pottery and fiber arts to jewelry, paintings and photography.

“Time and time again, for exactly 67 years, Rotarians and the community have been witness and recipients of this special community’s generosity and support through the Rotary auction,” LeBlanc-Eggert said. “I am so proud to live in Aroostook County and to be a part of this service to make our home an even better place to live and grow. Sincere gratitude to all our donors and those who buy the items in our auction: you are who make it possible.”

The Presque Isle Rotary Club maintains a membership of approximately 100 individuals and is part of a world-wide organization of community volunteers. The slogan of Rotary is “Service Above Self” and the club seeks to live up to this ideal by supporting a variety of causes for the betterment of the community. For over 65 years, the Presque Isle Rotary Club has undertaken the annual Radio and TV auction as its major fundraiser. The club typically raises about $20,000 from auction items that supports various charities and non-profit organizations. Club members also take on a special project that generally raises about $20,000 each year and previously had raised as much as $220,000 in the case of the County Dialysis Center and $415,000 last year for the Aroostook House of Comfort. To learn more about the club, please visit www.presqueislerotary.org.

With the 2014 auction completely wrapped up, club members already are beginning preliminary work to prepare for the 2015 auction, which will be held Tuesday to Thursday, Dec. 1, 2, and 3, 2015.