JOHN DAY – A benefit dinner held for Mt. Vernon Mayor Sue Horn last Saturday was marked by generosity, smiles, tears, and lots of hugs from the guest of honor.
Proceeds from the fund-raisers, approximately $22,000, will help with Horn’s medical expenses as she battles an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Estimating the attendance, organizer Heather Rookstool of John Day said they served enough tacos to feed 700 people.
“The turnout was amazing,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed by how supportive the community is. We may live in a rural community that doesn’t have a ton of money, but everyone always tries to give at these kinds of events.”
Horn and her husband Steve attended the event, along with about 350 other relatives from as far away as Montana. The Horns have six children: Heath Horn, Stephanie Volle, Tara Fischer, Nicki Cagley, Laramie Horn and Sterling Horn.
Sue mingled during a portion of the dinner, walking around to share a hug and visit with many of those attending.
“Sue said that she had so much gratitude in her heart for everyone being there, and she couldn’t say thank you enough,” she said.
There were 184 items donated for the silent auction, and 31 desserts were auctioned off by Tom Craig of Coos Bay, Sue’s brother-in-law.
Among the highly prized items up for bid were a pecan-praline cheesecake made by Georgia Boethin, which went to a high bidder for $210, and a bottle of home-canned pickles made by Brenda Stinnett, which went for $100.
Darla Derrick won an antique quilt in a drawing that brought in $3,000.
Cade Milton won a poker run held earlier that day, donating his winnings back. The event raised $600.
Rookstool expressed appreciation for the volunteers, and the restaurants, other businesses and individuals who donated food and other items for the event.
She said that Sue, who is like an aunt to her, had two surgical procedures on her brain in the last month, including removal of the temporal lobe, and will have chemotherapy and radiation treatment for six weeks starting Wednesday in Bend.
“Sue’s always the one who does for everyone else,” she said. “Every time we’ve had a benefit, she’s always the first one to help.
“It was hard for her to be on the receiving end instead of the giving end,” she added. “With what’s going on, we all feel pretty helpless, so this is one way of letting her know what she means to this community.”