It’s been 25 years since Lucie Immoos’ sister Carrie Young died in a car crash in Alaska, but her name is kept alive with a cause close to her heart.
“She was young, vibrant, full of life,” Immoos said. “When I found out how she helped elderly people, I felt I wanted to carry on the cause in her name.”
The 25th annual Carrie Young Memorial auction was held at the John Day Elks Lodge on Friday, Dec. 1. Money raised by the auction is used to help seniors pay for utilities and buy groceries and other essentials.
In 1993, the auction raised $175. That figure grew to $18,000 in 2015 and $28,000 in 2016, Immoos said. This year the auction raised $33,442, a new record. Items in the auction were donated by local businesses, family and friends.
“The local businesses have been phenomenal,” Immoos said. “I know they get hit a lot with requests, but they continue to give. I never get turned down.”
Immoos estimates they will help 130 to 160 seniors in their own homes or at four assisted-living homes — Blue Mountain Care Center, Valley View Assisted Living, Elderberry House and Mothers Creek Ranch.
“People ask me, ‘How do you know who to help?’” she said. “I’ve lived here for 45 years, grew up in Prairie City, so I know who needs help.”
Immoos said she maintains a list of elderly people in the county throughout the year — where they live and if they heat their homes with oil, propane or firewood.
Special items in this year’s auction included carved bull elk horns from her brother-in-law Bill Immoos, a birdhouse resembling a church made by Dorman Gregory and a wildlife print by artist Leon Parson from Charlie O’Rorke’s collection, which sold for more than $1,000.
“The print is part of the No-Tellum Series,” Immoos said.
Immoos credits five core women for making the event happen — Terri Bowden, Sharrie Slinkard, Dawn Wood, Carol Schumacher and Christie Winegar. Donated items were sorted into categories and placed in more than 250 baskets at a warehouse owned by Mike and Sharrie Slinkard, where they were decorated a hundred different ways. Winegar, Immoos’ sister, helped run the kitchen where a spaghetti dinner was prepared and served by a group of volunteers.
Immoos and her helpers left for Ontario at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to shop for clothing and other items for residents in the assisted-living homes. Twenty-three high school students will wrap the items and deliver them to the homes on Wednesday, she said.
Helping the county’s elderly is a major part of the auction, but not the only benefit, Immoos notes.
“I love to see the expression of people as they wander around the Elks Lodge looking at the baskets and the decoration,” she said. “Newcomers don’t know what to expect.”