Town Crier News Staff
Bidders were not looking for bargains on Saturday as they gathered at the BIC West elementary cafeteria. The crowd was there in support of the Buffalo Island EMS Ambulance Service. Friends keep a community spirit as they donated to the cause through fun, competitive bidding. One coconut cake which sold for $100 was given back and resold for $80.
Members of the Monette Fire Department and other volunteers took orders for barbecue. They began Friday afternoon cooking 525 pork steaks, 160 racks of ribs, and 132 chickens ready for delivery and pick-up on Saturday.
"We could have sold more, but we ran out," Bob Blankenship, EMS director, said. "Next year we will have more."
Other members of the board include Moba Lee Miller, Randy Jackson, Larry Drummond, Bob Hurst and Jodie Brown.
The annual auction is one of two fund raisers held each year to help support the EMS, a non-profit ambulance service serving the area since 1978. An annual luncheon is held each fall.
The first director was Curly Hout who was instrumental, with the help of B.J. Emerson, in meeting the needs of an ambulance service in the area. Hout served until his death in 1998. Jodie Brown stepped in as chairman in 1998 and served until 2006. Due to health problems he retired as chairman but still serves on the board. Bob Blankenship, long time board member, is currently serving as chairman.
A variety of items was auctioned including prints, quilts, home baked goods, farm chemicals, miniature tractors, a television donated by Robertson Brothers, tools, and gift certificates.
"We had a lot of items donated by the family of Virginia Barnes from her estate," Mrs. Miller said. "She was a long time supporter of the ambulance service. We had glassware, coffee makers, quilts, crocheted items, and much more at the auction. We also had items to take to a consignment shop with the proceeds going to the ambulance service. We were pleased her family thought about the ambulance auction. We appreciate everyone that takes part. The auction is successful year after year because of the community support. The gross amount for this year's auction totaled $22,400."
Auctioneers volunteering included Bill Harrell, Jim Grisham, Todd Emison and Danny Sentell who did a great job keeping the bidding lively and fun. In addition to the auction, volunteers cooked and sold hamburgers, hot dogs, and home baked items throughout the day.
The ambulance service is based in Monette and answers calls throughout the area when it is needed. Presently there are six EMTs and one driver on staff.