Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

December 9, 2012

Auction brings in over $216,000

Becky Varnell had slept only six hours in three days. But by Sunday evening, her sleep deprivation had paid off.

How much did it pay? Exactly $216,448.05.

That’s how much the 40th-annual WWKI We Care telethon brought in after 48 hours of intense bidding on jewelry, furniture, antiques, artwork, cars, homemade guitars and just about any other conceivable kind of item.

As the president of the We Care organization, Varnell helped organize and oversee the nearly 800 volunteers who manned the phones, stocked the shelves and kept the fundraising humming smoothly after it kicked off at 6 p.m. Friday.

And after the auction ended Sunday, Varnell said she was ready to climb into bed and catch up on some shut-eye.

“Working on six hours of sleep makes you kind of emotional,” she said with a laugh. “You can get sad and you can get angry, but you step away, take a deep breath, take a quite moment, ask God to help you and go back into it.”

Varnell reported this year’s auction brought in over $11,000 more than last year’s. The auction itself garnered $169,444, and an additional $47,003 came from 11 businesses who held their own fundraisers throughout the year for the We Care telethon.

“It’s really amazing, considering the economy,” she said. “It’s kind of surprising, and every year we’re overwhelmed if we can go over or match last year’s amount. It’s just like, ‘Thank you, Kokomo.’”

All the money will go to the Kokomo Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army, Bona Vista Inc., Mental Health America of Howard County, the Kokomo Tribune-sponsored Goodfellows and the Hope Fund. Checks will be presented to the agencies Dec. 19.

The item catching one of the biggest bids was the now-famous doll named Hope, which annually gets donated back to the telethon to be sold again. For the fourth year in a row, Scot and Virginia DeLon nabbed what’s become the We Care mascot.

Last year they won with a bid of $3,000. This year they dropped $6,000 on the doll.

Hope has been the final item auctioned since 1986, after the doll fell out of a bag while volunteers were sorting through donated items.

“In the silence of that moment, everyone knew the doll would touch the hearts of the community,” a We Care pamphlet says.

Virginia said they plan to place Hope on the mantle, and said they always explain to family and friends who come over what the doll means to Kokomo.

“When we look at her, we think to ourselves how blessed we are,” she said.

The We Care sign fetched a $2,500 winning bid. The sign  was given to the second-highest bidder of $2,200, but both donation were given anyway in a show of generosity.

Although the auction officially ended Sunday, people will have a chance to snag items that weren’t purchased this weekend at the clean-up auction this Sunday inside the former Phar-Mor store at the Kokomo Town Center Mall.

“After that we cry, we leave and we’re done,” Varnell said. “I’m glad when it’s over, but always joyous that the community has such a big heart. That’s the bottom line — this community loves its people and steps up every year.”

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached by phone at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS - KT082314 - Gaming revenues - PIC 1 Gaming revenues rush over border as Illinois expands slots INDIANAPOLIS – Beer and barbecue aren’t the only draws to Daddy-O’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Paris, Illinois, 15 miles from the Indiana border. The prospect of winning pulls in customers, as well.Since the neighborhood bar installed five vide

    August 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • U.S. 31 lane closure Monday The Indiana Department of Transportation will close the northbound right lane of U.S. 31 from the S.R. 931 flyover bridge at mile marker 156.0 north one-half mile to the 156.5 mile marker on Monday. Construction activities will begin at 7:30 a.m. The

    August 23, 2014

  • Camper rally 01 Dozens visit Peru for first vintage camper rally PERU — Mike Blackowiak said he’s used to creating some buzz when he pulls into a campground. But, then again, turning heads is one of the perks of owning an old-school 1963 Cree camper like his. “New campers — yeah, they’re nice, but you pull into a

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Floodgate trouble drops Lake Shafer by 20 inches A malfunction at a northern Indiana reservoir's dam has dropped the popular lake nearly 20 inches below its normal water level.

    August 22, 2014

  • Serena Youth Center seeking donations to furnish house The Serena Youth Center is looking for area businesses, churches and individuals to help furnish the center for the young women who will be living there. Kokomo’s first center for young women, ages 18 to 25, will soon open its doors, and the house on

    August 22, 2014

  • Water Color Class 06 Visual arts classes inspire adults to be creative Editor's note: This is one of several stories that will be published Sunday about how various groups are sharing their artistic talents with others. Eighty-six-year-old Dixie Bennett walked around her makeshift classroom inside Artworks Gallery Thurs

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Driver in Thursday crash cited for six traffic violations Kokomo police gave the driver of the jeep involved in Thursday afternoon’s crash on North Ohio Street six citations, including driving with a suspended driver’s license.

    August 22, 2014

  • 8 inches of overnight rain floods part of Indiana INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Heavy rains that dumped more than half a foot of rain overnight in some places triggered widespread flooding Friday in some central and northern Indiana counties. State police closed a section of Interstate 69 in both directions

    August 22, 2014

  • Purdue Security Video Purdue posts disputed video of photographer online

    Purdue University has posted online a surveillance video that college newspaper editors say shows a staff photographer being roughed up by police near where a student had been fatally shot and stabbed. Purdue posted the vi

    August 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sobriety checkpoints planned for today in Kokomo The Howard County Sheriff Department announced deputies will conduct a multi-jurisdictional enforcement checkpoint targeting impaired drivers in Howard County today. Officers from the Kokomo Police Department and troopers from the Indiana State Polic

    August 22, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries