Walking into the Credit Union Place on September 3rd was heartwarming. It was refreshing to join our friends and neighbours once again with the shared purpose of ensuring a bright future for patients at PCH. To watch as approximately 1000 community members gathered to celebrate their hospital was inspiring.
As we began to welcome speakers and guests, the mood was jubilant. And though we knew several high-profile gifts were coming to the stage, we weren’t prepared for so many surprises. Mr. Robert Irving arrived with one such gift – a $250,000 cheque!
The auction itself also had a banner year, raising $83,900. This great success was due in part to the last-minute tripling of an auction item. With auction prize donors Danny and Martie Murphy on hand, auctioneer Allison Smith secured their consent to offer not one, but three of their famous “Dinner at Gingerwood” packages – meaning each of our top three bidders walked away with dinner for 18 at the Murphy estate.
Approaching this 14th event, organizer and financier Warren Ellis had a grand total in mind, a long shot at $2.5 million in cash and future pledges. As the night neared its end and the dollars were tallied, it looked like he would be close to his lofty goal. From the stage, our president Rick Kennedy brought one final surprise. As they presented the grand total to Warren, Rick Kennedy announced that his company, Curran and Briggs, would “top up” the funds raised, pushing us to the $2.5 million mark. This brings the cumulative total for Grass Roots and Cowboy Boots to over $14.3 million since 2009.
We want to thank the 50+ volunteers who assisted with our evening. Thank you to all the amazing donors that came to the stage to make donations and multi-year pledges including Vogue Optical, Strait Bridge Crossing Ltd, Travelers Rest Mini Homes, Kevin Taweel, Don MacDougall, Kent and Inger Scales, Cooke Insurance, the Rotary Club of Summerside, Cavendish Farms, Island Petroleum, the PCH Auxiliary, and the City of Summerside among other significant gifts. We would be remiss if we were not to thank Warren Ellis, his family, and the team at Summerside Chrysler Dodge for making Grass Roots a reality again this year. Warren’s work ethic and generosity of spirit are the lifeblood of this event.