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Auction to benefit CASA

Gala event to help county’s abused youths

Walkers march through downtown Dallas in a event hosted by Polk County CASA in support of child abuse prevent on Monday. CASA also will hold an auction Saturday.

Photo by Jolene Guzman
Walkers march through downtown Dallas in a event hosted by Polk County CASA in support of child abuse prevent on Monday. CASA also will hold an auction Saturday.

RICKREALL — Would you like to own a signed guitar once owned by a member of the Rolling Stones? How about a football signed by Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman?

What about helping children in need?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, Polk County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) has an event for you Saturday at Eola Hills Wine Cellars.

The organization, which trains and assigns volunteers to represent abused and neglected children in the court system, is holding its first dinner and auction to raise money for the growing program.

“I would love to see us have a lot of people there to learn more about CASA, what we do and the need for CASA,” said Elaine Ferguson, a Polk County CASA board member.

With a class of volunteers being trained now, the program will soon have more than 60 CASAs, Ferguson said. That means every new case involving an abused or neglected child will be assigned a CASA, but that also puts strain on the part-time director.

Ferguson said the hope is to raise enough funding to allow for full-time staff and have the office open regular business hours instead of just a half day.

With a list of memorabilia that includes five San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl rings, gear signed by Heisman winner Marcus Mariota, and an autographed photo of golfing legends Jack Nicholas and Arnold Palmer smoking cigars after a golf tournament in 1962, the event is sure to be a draw.

“We would love to sell out,” said Tess Gebauer, a CASA board member and the fundraiser’s coordinator.

A few tickets will be available at the doors for those making last-minute plans.

And you don’t have to be a collector to help CASA reach its goal. Local businesses have made donations as well.

“There are a range of items, from $10 on up,” Ferguson said.

Dinner is $50 per plate and includes dessert and a glass of wine, beer or hard cider. The main course will be herb-crusted chicken.

The guest speaker is retired Polk County Circuit Court Judge Charles Luukinen. Additional speakers are retired Dallas businessman Ken Mayer and Elli Katuara, with the Department of Human Services.

Ferguson said in 2014, Polk County’s CASA volunteers contributed nearly 5,300 hours to the organization’s cause.

She said with the help of the dinner and auction, she hopes to increase that number.

“That’s a value of more than $100,000 to the county,” she said. “I think we are providing a very good service. … Our fundraising is so we can give them even more.”

You can help

What: CASA Charity Auction and Dinner.

When: Saturday, doors open at 5:50 p.m.

Where: Eola Hills Wine Cellars, 501 S. Pacific Highway (99 W).

Admission: $50 per plate. Tickets can be purchased by calling Polk County CASA, 503-623-9268, ext. 1301, or by emailing axtell.katey or

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