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SE Rotary Holiday party raises spirits and funds

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The Southeast service club is over fifty years young, but continues to benefit the community while having fun


DAVID F. ASHTON - Ready to perform at the Southeast Portland Rotary Clubs Holiday Celebration at Oaks Park: Twins Sarah and Sophia Fisher, flanking their mentor, concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer. It was a festive evening for members and guests of the Southeast Portland Rotary Club, when they held their 2016 Holiday Wreath and Silent Auction, for the first time this year, at historic Oaks Amusement Park, on Saturday evening, December 3.

It was cold and rainy outside, but the Oaks Park Dance Pavilion proved cozy – merrily festooned with Holiday decorations.

Over 150 guests browsed silent auction items, including a number of major items and vacations, and a Wall of Wine auction, as well as the auction of several dozen fresh, hand-decorated wreaths, as they awaited a buffet dinner of Caesar salad, pork loin, lasagna, and scalloped potatoes.

"As in past years, we are again auctioning Holiday wreaths, playing the 'Heads or Tails' game, and – new this year – we will also have musical performances, including a concert by rock violinist Aaron Meyer," smiled this year's Southeast Portland Rotary Club President and Fundraising Chair, Joel Fields.

The event was more than just a grand Holiday party, Fields said. "This is also our major fundraiser for the year."

Some of the money raised will go to supporting Rotary International health-oriented projects. "But a good portion of it helps support our local Rotary Youth Exchange Program, and other charitable organizations that directly benefit Inner Southeast Portland," Fields said. "One of the local organizations supported is the Thelma Skelton 'Meals on Wheels People' Center on Milwaukie Avenue.

"We've had an anonymous donor provide up to a $5,000 match for whatever we collect for Meals on Wheels during our 'Paddle Raise', and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of all of that."

In total, the club hoped to raise about $25,000 for the various causes.

A group of ten key volunteers worked to plan the event and collect auction items, Fields remarked. "We also have seven 'Rotaractors' – younger Rotary members – vo lunteering this evening."

With the event in full swing, Fields looked over the room and said, "The best part is seeing a fine crowd turn out and have a good time."