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Geneva Cancer Auction, events, raise $100,000


AUCTION ACTION — Auctioneer Tracy Holland, left, makes the announcement as Rhonda Hareid and Angela Dobberstein present a check for $8,200, proceeds from the Hot Looks for a Cure calendars during the second and final weekend of the 30th Annual Geneva Cancer Auction.  (Star Eagle photos by Kathy Paulsen)


Staff Writer

The Geneva Cancer Auction has built quite a reputation over the past 30 years. The $1 million mark for money raised in Geneva was reached in 2010 and now, in 2014, another new mark was set.

The 2014 auction brought this year’s total to $100,000. Yes, $100,000!

Whitey and LaJune Hagen again made their yearly trip to the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester on Sunday, January 19, to make the presentation on behalf of the many great people from the Geneva area who help raise money for cancer research.

"I have been accused that once I get a microphone in my hands, one never knows what might come out of my mouth,” said Whitey Hagen. “But one thing is for sure. We once again had a great crowd of people working together to raise money for a good cause. I thank the Good Lord that he has allowed me and my wife, LaJune, to be together for 57 years, and the two of us have also been working together on cancer fundraising events for a lot of good years too. But there is one thing that I have never been able to say here or anywhere else before: we have raised and will be donating $100,000 from all of the cancer fundraising events that have centered out of Geneva this past year."

The funds raised are the result of many different activities, including the Geneva Cancer Auction and the Wild Game Feed, which this year raised $19,000. The raffle for the 1942 M Farmall Tractor donated by the Harold J. Bagley and Steve Quam families raised $9,000. The "Hot Looks For A Cure" calendar sales raised $8,200; the Geneva Cancer Golf Outing raised $2,100. And if that isn't enough, the Geneva Cancer Motorcycle Run raised $2,000, the Matt Felt/Dillon Gordon motorcycle run raised $1,000, the Bend in the Road Haircut event raised $2,582. Many more haircuts were performed over the past two weeks and also raised a great deal of money. The haircuts allowed hair to be donated to the "Locks For Love" program, which goes to help others too.

The 11th Annual Geneva Cancer Raffle, which this year included a 51" plasma HD TV with Blu-Ray player, $1,500 in cash prizes, a $1,000 donation from the Maple Island Park Association from bingo funds at the Geneva Bar & Grill, and a $500 donation from the Hartland Farmers Bank, along with many other donations - all contributed to that grand total of $100,000.

Hagen’s announcement truly surprised the TV announcers - Theresa and Mike Chapman - at the Eagles Cancer Telethon, leaving them speechless for a bit. Theresa said she had been in attendance at the first weekend of the 2014 Cancer Auction in Geneva and still has not been able to figure out how Whitey is able to walk around the bar & grill and collect donations on the tray he carries on the top of his head without it falling to the floor. She also went on to say that Whitey can make people do truly amazing things.

Mike added that a lot of creativity and hard work goes into raising that amount of money. He also said, "How can you turn down a man like this?"

Whitey has been involved with raising money for the Eagles Cancer Telethon for 40 years. The first 10 years were in Albert Lea, where he said he got a lot of good practice before helping start the auctions in Geneva.

Whitey said he was very proud to be able to deliver $100,000 to the telethon. He doesn’t know if he can get 30 more years out of his body, but he will try and help with the fundraising activities in Geneva for a few more years. Whitey concluded the interview saying, "I hope that people have great thoughts about the Geneva Cancer Auctions like I do."

Whitey began the final day of the 2014 auction saying, "This is the 30th Anniversary of your Geneva Cancer Auction. Thank you for 30 super years. People from near and far are amazed at what this small community has been able to accomplish. We thank our neighbors who have been great to help."

He went on to state that he has appreciated what people have done to help keep our country free and that it has been a great privilege to serve and asked everyone to think about the people who have members of their families serving in the military. He thanked the Ellendale VFW Club for donating two American flags to this year’s auction and asked that one of the flags be then put up for bid.

How do they raise so much money? The auction of course is a big contributor. It has many willing, caring, generous donors, auctioneers, helpers, and of course, buyers. Many methods of raising funds come about because someone had a bright idea or a desire to help overcome a disease that raised havoc with someone in their family, or with friends, or just because it was the right thing to do.

There are seamstresses from local churches, along with individuals, who create one of a kind quilts, afghans and blankets. Grandma Lorraine Wallace found time to make warm sleepwear and a dozen or more doll clothes for this year’s auction.

There are cooks and bakers who come through every year with any amount of delicious foods. There are those who turn "wild game" into an event that brings people from near and far to Geneva.

Speaking of wild game, Whitey Hagen got his start raising money for cancer when he caught a chicken and auctioned it off and then took his donation to the Eagles Cancer Telethon.

There are others who make great crock pots full of soups, stews and chili, delicious hot hor d'oeuvres, or bring in hot pizzas and such and donate them. Some donate jars of pickles, pickled beets, or horseradish as well as pickled northern pike. Still other cooks produce unique jams and jellies, and others create great pies, cakes, cheesecakes, pastries, breads, bars, cookies, candies and caramels. Meat donations include 1/2 of hogs, turkeys, hams, pork chops and steaks, sausage sticks and meat and cheese trays, while others share great bottles of homemade wine and liquor, or cordial liquors.

Other great people year in and year out donate bags and bags of potatoes and onions, as well as cases of that great Hope butter that gets paired up with any number of items.

"That Hope butter is best in the world,” said Jamie Hagen. “Victor and Kellie have donated a lot of butter over the years.”

Said Tracy Holland when auctioning Hope butter, "The more you pay, the better the taste!"

There have also been a great number of Vi and Sue Hill’s pickles and Karen Osmundson’s caramels donated over the years. Many were pleased to see Joni Groth had donated a large number of her now famous stuffed mushrooms this year.

People turn hobbies into special heirloom pieces, including wooden items designed for children, toys like rocking chairs, bunk beds and high chairs for dolls, unique rocking horses, as well as wooden cars that rock. There was also another painted barn quilt square, along with a number of unique pictures and plaques up for bid.

There were passes for entertainment: Chanhassen, Nickelodeon, Sea Life Aquarium and Big Island Rendezvous. And what would a cancer auction be without gift certificates for hair cuts, car washes, cylinder exchanges, oil changes, grocery and department stores, dinners, you name it.

The auction this year of course included sports items including a framed, autographed Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer Jersey, golf outings, a noteworthy golf club, a special hockey stick, a Twins' Bobble Head, and an autographed basketball from the Panthers.

We can't forget that we live in a farming community, so each year a portion of the auction includes bags of seed corn and soybeans, as well as bales of hay and straw. There were truck loads of gravel and crushed rock. Also included were items for the family dogs and cats, including beds and bedding and veterinary services. There were also items for our feathered friends too, including bird houses and bird seed. The auction also had a great number of tools and shovels.

Speaking of shovels, for years now Frontier Communications has presented a shovel to the auction in Carl Anderson’s honor, stating the shovel has never been used by Carl. This year Carl donated a second shovel which was present in Darrell Hansen’s honor, stating that it too had never been used by Darrell. Both Carl and Darrell have been known for their ability to "spread good will" as well as for "pitching in" to help others. Carl signed and dated both shovels before he and Darrell gave their prize shovels to "Digger," the local grave digger.

The auction had many great items, some of which have been enjoyed for a year and then brought back to the auction, including a Schwinn bike, a wood truck, as well as a unique three-wheel bike that was first donated in 2010, and has been brought back each year since and auctioned again. This past summer the bike was refurbished by Al and Mark Lee in Ellendale and given a new coat of paint and once again it has found a new home.

There were also new toy items too, including a John Deere pedal tractor along with NAPA cars and trucks to name a few.

A quilt in Mary Beth Goodnature’s memory helped raise a great deal of money, as did the "Friends Don't Let Friends Fight Cancer Alone" T-Shirts that were auctioned off. The Geneva Cancer Committee each year has been selling sweatshirts, T-shirts, a few caps and, this year had 2014 items available for sale, as well as the cookbook!

The winning tickets for the 11th Annual Auction Raffle were drawn on Saturday night. The lucky winner of the grand prize 51" plasma HDV with nlu-Ray player was the new Geneva Lumber Company. Samantha Anderson won the $500 prize; Broskoff Structures, $400; Ray Gonzales, $300; Luke Nielson, $200 and Becca Spurr, $100.

Misgen Trucking of Ellendale was the lucky winner of the 1942 M Farmall.

Whitey Hagen thanked everyone who bought tickets and supported these fundraising events, stating, "We are all winners as all the money raised goes for cancer research."

Whitey also thanked Tracy Holland, Jim Manges, Waylon Busho, Jamie Hagen, who have provided their auctioneering talents for a great number of years. He also welcomed, Seth Hartle, from Hope, and Brandon Nelson, from Ellendale, who joined the group this year.

God bless all the organizations and people who donated or helped out in any way with the many events that take place during the year. It takes a lot of time and effort to achieve superior results. Special thank yous are extended to Barb and Jack Kuchenbecker at Geneva Bar & Grill, as well as to Whitey and LaJune Hagen.

The result from the fundraising events was far greater than anyone could have expected this year — and we expect a lot from this community’s fundraisers.

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