Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Fundraising expectations were doubled Friday night when an auction to benefit the Del Norte County Veterans Monument construction raised $40,000.

Public relations/fundraising chair for the Del Norte County Veterans Monument Committee Kelly Schellong said Monday that estimates for completion were in the $50,000 range, and she originally expected the benefit and auction to pull in around $20,000. Sen. Mike McGuire served as the benefit auctioneer.

“Sen. McGuire was a rockstar,” Schellong said, “there’s no other way to describe it.” She said McGuire was energetic and enthusiastic during the entire benefit.

“I don’t think we could have raised $40,000 without him,” Schellong said.

All auctioned items were donated by locals individuals and businesses. The lowest-priced item sold for $600, for a U.S. flag that flew over the Capitol in Washington, D.C. The rest included a helicopter tour, a two-day vacation in Sun River, Port o’ Pints Beer School, passes to the Music Festival in Central Oregon, dinner for 10 at SeaQuake Brewery, a two-night stay in Woodmoor Gables on the Smith River, Giants tickets, guided fishing trips, meat and egg packages from Alexandre Dairy and plane tickets to Oakland on Contour Airlines.

Schellong said the remaining items each brought in $800 to $2,000 individually. She said some donors were present at the auction and when bidding reached high amounts, those donors decided to award another package to the second-place bidders, essentially doubling the amount raised.

“Our community really stepped up,” she said. “Our committee is so thankful that this project has become so important to the community, and we could not have done it without the help of volunteers. I can’t wait for this project to be finished.”

While the benefit brought the committee much closer to its goal of completing the project, there is still much to be done and ways to help. Through the purchase of anything from a single engraved brick to a bench or flagpole, community members can pay tribute to veterans. Call Schellong at (707) 218-5060 to donate or get more information.