ELKINS, W.Va. — An annual event intended to help sick children raised more than $80,000 and attracted more than 50 local business owners Thursday.
Representatives from regional logging companies and individuals from the community attended the annual Log-A-Load for Kids auction and Ted Harriman Memorial Thursday at Newlon’s International Sales in Elkins. The event benefits West Virginia University Children’s Hospital.
The log auction, which included other donated items as well, has been loosely affiliated with the Mountain State Forest Festival since its inception 19 years ago and has raised more than $1.5 million dollars since.
Log-A Load for Kids is a national program with a mission to raise funds for the improvement of children’s health through treatment, education and research. The Mountain Loggers Cooperative Association (MLCA) is the local sponsor for the program.
Forest Festival royalty was on hand for the auction. Maid Silvia Madeline Hope Ross, who was accompanied by her maids of honor and the royal court, spoke to the crowd before the auction began.
“I’ve never been before but I’m so glad that I’m here today,” she said. “This is a great event.”
Tim Pahl, secretary of the MLCA, said the original concept for the local event was for loggers to donate the value of one load of logs each year to the program, and that money in turn would be distributed to the Children’s Miracle Network and from there to local children’s hospitals such as the one at WVU. Now the MLCA dedicates the event fully to the operations of the West Virginia Children’s Hospital.
“It’s rare that I can talk to someone about the Children’s Hospital and that person not have a child that has been in the Children’s Hospital or know someone really well that has been in the Children’s Hospital,” he said. “Being able to raise money for (the hospital) is what we enjoy doing.”
Pahl noted that most of the logs auctioned off came from donors in the region.
“It’s a variety of businesses. Most all of them are related to the forest products industry or they are forest product industry,” he said. “The fact that we could raise over $1.5 million over this period of time is a real testament to the generosity of the forest industry and how community oriented they really are.”
WVU Children’s Hospital has a number of outreach clinics throughout the state, which allow children in rural areas access to premium healthcare. Funds raised through the Log-A-Load for Kids auction help support these clinics.
“I have the privilege of being in the Children’s Hospital every day and seeing the great work that the physicians do,” WVU Children’s Hospital Director Cheryl Jones told the crowd before the event began. “I’m so pleased that we’re able to open up some of these outpatient clinics that can prevent people from having to drive up the interstate every day – particularly with a sick child.”
Dr. Larry Rose, chairman of pediatrics and physician-in-chief at the hospital, said the funds raised help to finance the travel expenses for the doctors to practice in these satellite clinics.
“(The event) has provided a significant amount over the past 19 years,” he said. “They’ve been very supportive. We’ve got a number of nice things for our hospital that we wouldn’t have had without them.”
Randolph County businessman Mike Ross was on hand to bid on timber. He said the WVU Children’s Hospital has been “so helpful” to his family over the years.
“We’re so fortunate to have that facility in the state of West Virginia,” he said. “They help so many kids throughout the state and I really enjoy doing this. I’m thankful they were there when I needed them in my family.
Paul Dohner, owner and proprietor of Heritage Hardwood in Lititz, Pa., has come to the event since it began as a memorial for his good friend, Ted Harriman. Dohner was presented with a plaque for being 2014’s largest donor, an award that he also received last year.
Dohner, who told The Inter-Mountain he considers West Virginia his adopted state, was again an active participant in this year’s event, as his company made the highest bid of $12,500 on one load of lumber.
“I come to honor Ted and his family,” Dohner said. “I just like giving back. That’s what I do.”
Dallas Heldreth, who’s served as auctioneer for the event since it’s inception, returned to conduct the auction. Most of the lumber was auctioned off below the established fair market value.