Sunshine and a view of ferries sailing back and forth across Puget Sound came through the picture windows of the South County Senior Center in Edmonds last Saturday, March 21st, as a crowd of Louis Braille School supporters attended the 2009 Benefit Auction.
Auctioneer Bobby Mills and Master of Ceremonies Tom Snyder, both of whom belong to the Edmonds Lions Club, served with humor and energy on a day when the auction raised a bit more money this year than it did in 2008.
Carolyn Meyer, Director of the Louis Braille School, gave the Louis Braille School Distingushed Service Award to District 19B Lions.
The award, initiated in 2007, is presented to those who have made a significant difference for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Supporters were serenaded by the SeaSharps, a barbershop quartet out of Seattle, and ate homemade, hand-cranked ice cream provided by Mark Hanberg, a milkman from Edmonds who calls himself the Moo Man.
Puppies in training to be Guide Dogs for the Blind made an appearance at the event and were petted and admired by the crowd.
Prior to enjoying dessert, attendees had pizza from Pagliacci’s (the Louis Braille School’s next door neighbor) and gourmet sodas from the Dry Soda Company in Seattle.
The most notable culinary contributions may have come from Cindy Van Winkle and her daughter, Amanda Wearstler.
Cindy baked a pineapple upside down cake that was truly mouth watering and spurred some lively bidding, while Amanda made a cake ingeniously decorated with braille fashioned from chocolate that rested atop a snow-white icing.
Two Louis Braille School students spoke at the event and each was joined by a parent.
Jennifer Wheeler, mother of student Brett Wheeler, spoke movingly about Brett’s early challenges in life and the more recent decision her family made to move from eastern Washington to Edmonds, so that Brett could attend the Louis Braille School.
Both Jennifer and Brett are glad they made the move.
Before the Wheelers took the stage, student Jordan Frank and his father, Steve, spoke to the audience of supporters.
Steve asked his son what he liked best about the Louis Braille School and Jordan loudly said, “Learning!”
With that answer, Jordan made us smile and think at the same time. If ever a single word could have summed up the reason the auction takes place, makes all the hard work worthwhile, and imparts a sense of purpose to the school’s supporters, what could serve better than “Learning”?
We want to thank the following volunteers, without whose help the auction could not have taken place: the Delta Gamma Beta University of Washington Beta Chapter, Essie Fletcher, Glen Hair, Nancy Hamilton, Grace Lackey, Julie LeMay, Virginia Low, Kathryn McMaster, the Meadowdale High School Leos, Claudia Mills, Georgia Snyder, and CathyYocom.
A special thanks goes out to the Imagine Children’s Museum of Everett. Under the direction of its Creative Arts and Volunteer Manager, Raniere, children at the Museum created large and colorful table doilies out of squares of recycled brailled paper that they covered with finger paints and attached to each other with knotted lengths of scarlet yarn.
The doilies coordinated well with the checkered tablecloths and bud vases filled with daisies assembled by Julie LeMay, as the photo, below, shows.