And that’s something Roy Young would have wholeheartedly supported.
Young, who died on Sept. 14 at the age of 49 after a sudden illness, was named the 2012 Citizen of the Year at Saturday’s “Eighter From Decatur Downs” – the 21st Annual Decatur Chamber of Commerce Auction and Dinner. The event, held at the Civic Center, drew a healthy and generous crowd and brought in over $48,000 through live and silent auctions, raffles and other fundraisers.
The 44th Citizen of the Year award was presented by Brian Stephens of Stephens, Bastian & Cartwright Insurance, sponsors of the award. Young’s sisters, Debra Walker of Decatur, Barbara Ashcraft of Waco and Linda Young of Fort Worth, were on hand to receive the award on behalf of his family.
Young, a Decatur native who went to work at James Wood Motors in 1986, fresh out of Tarleton State University, was serving as general sales manager for the Decatur dealership at the time of his death. He was honored for his work in organizing WC Challenger Charities, which has staged the J.W. Hart Professional Bull Riders Challenge at the Sheriff’s Posse Arena since 2004.
That event has raised nearly $400,000 to benefit local organizations, including $224,000 to the United Way of Wise County. Saturday night’s festivities brought a little more to that cause, as the PBR donated a gift package to the Chamber auction that went for more than $3,000, which was split between the Chamber and Challenger Charities.
The package includes a set of tickets for every night of the 2013 finals in Las Vegas, as well as lunch with J.W. Hart, one of the PBR’s founding members and a room for the stay throughout the finals at the MGM Grand Hotel, a leather coat with the PBR logo, and tickets for the PBR Challenger Event held every year in Decatur, along with a pass to a pre-event party with the bull riders.
But Young also worked tirelessly for a variety of other causes, including the Wise County Youth Fair. He was president of the fair’s Champions and Blue Ribbon Club – another organization he helped create – at the time of his death.
His wife, Donna Sue, and daughter Emily could not be on hand for the award presentation.
AUCTION BIGGER THAN LAST YEAR
Misty Hudson, executive director for the Chamber, said the live auction, conducted by Danny Whitehead of Weatherford, brought in a little over $33,000 – roughly $10,000 more than last year’s auction. When the totals from the silent auction and raffles are added in, the Chamber’s total take for the night tops $48,000, Hudson said.
Lisa Caraway, Chamber president, said it was a “great event.”
“With the economy the way it is, we’re very pleased,” she said. “We did a few things differently than we’ve done in the past – the photo booth, the area of baked goods that did really well. Then in the live auction, we had additional items added throughout the night, as generous people were willing to offer items, and we auctioned them and brought in additional funds.”
One example was the two dozen Denny Deady cinnamon rolls.
The rolls were originally purchased by James Wood and North Texas Bank, who split them up. Andrew Rottner donated the bank’s dozen back to be auctioned off again, with the proceeds to go toward the “Battle of Big Sandy” canned food drive, which will ultimately benefit the Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM).
In the ensuing auction, Thomas and Terri Houchin paid $2,000 for half of the rolls and Brian Stephens of Stephens, Bastian & Cartwright bought the other half-dozen for $2,000. They wrote checks directly to the PTOs for the canned food drive, Hudson said.
That money, along with sponsorships and table sales is not counted in the $48,000 total, Hudson said. The table and sponsorship money usually goes to pay for the Civic Center rental, food, beverages, the photo booth, race video rental, silent auction items and other miscellaneous costs of putting on the event.
Counting baked goods, there were about 180 items in the silent auction, spread through three rooms in the Civic Center. Bidding opened at 5:30 in advance of the dinner and closed in stages throughout the evening. By the time it was over, most of the items brought more than their listed value.
Caraway commended those in attendance for their generosity.
“Anytime an event like this does well, it’s an indication not only of the generosity of our community, but an indication that the economy here is starting to recover,” she said. “We’re very fortunate here compared to many places.”
The Chamber uses the funds raised through the annual event to fund its day-to-day operations, promote tourism, business development and economic growth. They also sponsor scholarships for Decatur High School graduates.
Carey Williams served as master of ceremonies, and numerous volunteers helped with door prize drawings and organizing the horse racing event, the raffle, silent and live auctions and a Kentucky Derby ladies’ hat contest.
Live auction items included ticket packages for the Cowboys-Redskins football game Nov. 22 and University of Texas-Iowa State game on Nov. 10. Bidders also paid a premium for ads in the Chamber’s 2013 business guide and the Wise County Messenger’s “All Around Wise” section. There were dining experiences including a steak dinner for 25, a cowboy breakfast for 25, a fish fry for 50, a barbecue for 50, an evening (including dinner) at the Decatur Fire House and of course, the Denny Deady cinnamon rolls.
Also auctioned were jewelry, lawn equipment, a rifle, a Decatur High School autographed football and trips to tour plantations in Natchitoches, La., to the Winstar World Casino, and the Professional Bull Riding finals in Las Vegas. There was even a private night for 8 at Corinna’s Boutique.