The Carrie Young Memorial Dinner and Auction highlights the generosity of the people in Grant County and continues to grow after 26 years.
Lucie Immoos, a Forest Service employee, created the event in 1993 to honor her older sister, Carrie Young, who was killed in a car crash.
When Young passed away, the family learned that she purchased gifts each Christmas for residents at Blue Mountain Care Center in Prairie City, where she worked.
“She had been purchasing Christmas gifts out of her own pocket for people who didn’t have much family,” Immoos said. “She didn’t have much money herself, but she did it anyways.”
The death of her sister devastated Immoos, but she wanted to carry on.
“I thought to myself, ‘Am I gonna bawl and be devastated and bawl and bawl?’ or let’s do something good in her memory,” Immoos said.
In September 1993, Immoos walked out of Bear Valley fire office with an idea of having a memorial in honor of her sister to carry on the tradition of giving. She pitched her idea to the workers in front of the office and Dorman Gregory, who still donates money for the memorial to this day, handed Immoos the first $50 for the memorial.
It started with $50, but in 2018, the dinner and auction raised $31,000.
With the money raised by the dinner and auction, Immoos makes sure that everybody receives some form of heat through the purchase of heating supplies such as furnace oil, propane and firewood. Funds raised also go toward groceries and other needed supplies for hundreds of elderly residents.
Residents at Valley View Assisted Living, Blue Mountain Care Center, Mothers Creek senior home and more around the county receive a sizable gift certificate that goes toward groceries at Chester’s Thriftway or to pay the electric bill.
“Now I’ve raised so much money, when nursing homes go to each patient, they can ask what do you need and what do you want?" Immoos said. “For the people with no family we get all of their toiletries, sheets and towels, but we always try and get them something fun.”
Immoos continued by talking about an elderly lady at the nursing home that would go down to the kitchen for a margarita.
“By God, if I live old enough to be in the nursing home and still want to have a margarita at night, I think she should have it,” Immoos said. “I made sure she had her little margarita mixer waiting for her for Christmas.”
This year there are a wide variety of items up for grabs for the auction. At the moment, there are 200 auction items including 130 themed baskets.
Such items like an etched elk horn, hunting and camping items, University of Oregon game tickets, a beef basket with a $100 gift certificate plus 40 pounds of hamburger, a load of wood and more are up for bid.
John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom attended the event last year and was left in awe at the amount of baskets and donations the memorial received.
“I walked around for 30 minutes with my mouth open,” Lundbom said. “There were so many baskets and the thought put into each basket was incredible. I really can’t say enough about the effort they put into the event, and the cause itself of helping the elderly is really admirable.”
The Carrie Young Memorial Dinner and Auction will be on Dec. 6, opening the doors at 5 p.m. and dinner starting at 5:30 p.m.