Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 6, 2013

'The heart of Kokomo'

We Care telethon has become cornerstone of community

A soldier stopped by WWKI offices this week to drop off a special gift — a flag that flew on a bomber in Afghanistan.

He had just returned from a tour of duty there and wanted to donate a memento from his service to We Care.

He worked with Wounded Warrior Project to make sure it came back to Kokomo.

The soldier wouldn’t give his name, only the gift.

That flag will be auctioned off this weekend during the 48-hour We Care telethon.

“That’s the best thing I’ve seen so far,” volunteer Becky Varnell said.

People from all over the region have been donating items for the auction since Thanksgiving.

There are three new air conditioning units and even a furnace on the auction block. People will be able to buy two carousel horses. We Care will also sell seven Mike Sears paintings. Sears has been a longtime contributor to the auction. He paints pictures on unique canvases like jugs and blocks of wood.

“They go for a lot of money,” Varnell said.

Over the years, people have opened up their hearts and wallets to donate some imaginative items. There have been handmade afghans, original art work, expertly crafted knives, resort vacations, land and even automobiles.

Some gifts, Varnell said, are simple items coming from people who don’t have a lot but want to give. Those are just as valuable.

“It doesn’t matter how big it is, how small it is, how damaged it may be,” she said. “They’re giving from the heart.”

And generous people bid on all of the items. The telethon brings in a lot of money for the Salvation Army, Goodfellows and the Kokomo Rescue Mission, she said.

Last year, it brought in $169,444.53.

Combined with all other money from We Care fundraisers, the organization was able to donate $412,495.34 back to the community last year.

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