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Dennis Hill, operations manager and chair of the Coosa County Animal Shelter, accepts a $500 donation from Eddie Kelley of Valley, grand prize winner of $5,000 from the shelter’s draw-down raffle. Photo by Christa Jennings
Joseph Weathers holds the 20 gauge pump-action shotgun he won in a separate raffle Saturday night, while also holding Bennett Ross Onushko, who will get the gun when he is older. Photo by Christa Jennings
Dennis Hill and Dr. Chad Baxley wait for names to be drawn for the raffle by Tanner Hill, Abigail Hyatt and Adeline Morris, who helped draw tickets throughout the event. Photo by Christa Jennings
A crowd filled the available tables and chairs of the old Weogufka gym Saturday evening, enjoying food and fellowship while anxiously waiting to see what they might win. Photo by Christa Jennings
By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
The Coosa County Animal Shelter’s inaugural draw-down raffle proved to be successful, with numerous tickets sold and a good turnout at the event itself.
A crowd gathered in the old Weogufka gym Saturday evening, August 27, to enjoy hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings, as well as chips, drinks and dessert; while anxiously waiting to hear if they would win.
Approximately 100 people attended the event, although individuals did not have to be present to win. In addition to the tickets sold ahead of the event, 14 more tickets were sold at the door the night of the raffle.
Individuals were able to purchase tickets for $99 each for the chance to win the grand prize of $5,000 or one of other numerous prizes donated for the cause. Some businesses even pooled together to buy tickets.
Prizes were awarded for every sixth ticket drawn during the draw-down raffle. Attendees waited with bated breath for their names to be called, finding out whether they would win any of the prizes.
Dennis Hill, chairperson and operations manager of the Coosa County Animal Shelter, explained that the first ticket drawn would get their $99 back. That ticket holder was John and Bethany Forbus, who graciously donated the money back to the shelter.
At the end of the raffle, the last ticket drawn belonged to Eddie Kelley of Valley, who won the grand prize of $5,000. Kelley then donated back $500 of his winnings to the shelter.
Kelley and his wife, Pamela, have numerous pets of their own and also often take in strays in their area, demonstrating their hearts for animals.
Kelley, who only purchased one ticket for the raffle, said, “You don’t expect to win anything. It’s nice when you do.”
The top three prize winners were not present for the raffle, but received their prizes later. The second top prize went to Sarah Murchison, who won a Char-Griller Blazer charcoal grill and barbecue-themed gift basket from Home Depot of Sylacauga, with the prize valued at a total of $300.
The third top prize went to a Dr. Rousseau of Birmingham, who won an Echo gas-powered blower valued at $150 from Griffin’s Outdoor Power Equipment Sales & Service of Goodwater.
Other sponsors who donated prizes and those who won them were Shelby Ray who won a spa treatment and 6 months of Nexgard from Baxley Animal Hospital of Sylacauga, valued at $150 total; Reba Hill who won a will writing by Lydia Waters’ Law Service, valued at $150; a quarry employee group who won a $100 gift certificate to Stewartville Pickers; B. Fuller and C. Jennings who each won a free grooming service with PetSense in Sylacauga, valued at $50 each; Anne Evans who won a $100 gift certificate to Tractor Supply of Alexander City; Pinky Reichert and Melvin Palmer who each won an oil change with Wright’s Tire Service of Sylacauga, valued at $50 each; Randy Culver who won a Case pocketknife valued at $85 from Vansandt Hardware of Sylacauga; Dr. Baxley who won two rounds of golf at Coosa Pines Golf, valued at $80; Jean Patterson who won a treat basket valued at $75 from Wayside Animal Hospital of Alexander City; Todd Adams who won a $50 gift certificate to Triple R Cafe in Rockford; Bill Allen who won a cap and gift certificate from Oak Grove Feed and Seed, valued at $60 total; Raymond Cooper who won a $50 gift certificate to Marble City Pharmacy of Sylacauga; Kevin Ezekiel who won a $50 gift certificate to Bandits Pub and Grill of Sylacauga; and Ricky Weaver who won a pedicure by Delane Vansandt of Sylacauga valued at $35 and a $25 gift certificate to Carden’s Gift Shop of Sylacauga.
Some individuals attending the event also won door prizes donated by Alexander City Veterinary Clinic and Baxley Animal Hospital, including pet toys and microchipping services.
In a separate raffle, a 20 gauge pump-action shotgun valued at $450 was donated by Cameron and Kim Ray. People attending the event had the opportunity to buy separate tickets to enter that drawing, as well.
The winner of the gun was Joseph Weathers, and he plans to give it to Bennett Ross Onushko, grandson of Wendell and Pam Weathers, when he gets older.
The animal shelter’s Board of Directors thanks additional sponsors who helped provide food and refreshments for the night’s event. Those include Piggly Wiggly of Goodwater who donated $500 in hamburgers, Walmart of Alexander City who donated $75 in drinks and Melvin Palmer who donated $75 in hot dogs.
The board also thanks Tanner Hill, Abigail Hyatt and Adeline Morris for their assistance in drawing tickets throughout the raffle.
Dennis Hill and his wife, Debbie, described it as an “awesome night” they had while “celebrating the soon-to-be shelter.” The Board of Directors also thanks everyone who helped with food and preparations for the night, as well as all of those who bought tickets.
Hill also extended gratitude to Eddie Kelley and John Forbus for their donations, stating that they would be matched.
An anonymous donor had stated that they would match donations to the shelter from August 15-31 up to $2,000, and Kelley’s and Forbus’s donations were included for that match.
Hill said that for that time period the shelter received $2,038.50 in donations, meaning that it reached its goal for that time frame and that $2,000 will be matched by the anonymous donor.
In total so far, the shelter has raised $79,400, exceeding its initial goal of $70,000. That means it has enough funds to begin working on the shelter facility to prepare it for opening, as well as for two years of operations, which was what the original $70,000 goal included.
With funds received beyond that initial goal, Hill said the additional money will go towards further operational years of the shelter and/or to help with discount spay and neuter certificates once the shelter is able to begin offering those.
Hill said they will begin working on the shelter facility in Stewartville soon, and the goal is to have it open in December. They are still accepting monetary donations, as well as donations of needed appliances, supplies, labor, and time to help get the shelter ready to open.
Monetary donations can be made via Venmo on the shelter’s Facebook page or by checks payable to Coosa County Animal Shelter. Donations can be mailed to 5520 Coosa County Road 41; Sylacauga, AL 35151.
For more information about appliance and supply donations, volunteering to help, or the shelter in general, text or call 256-391-7192 or email email@example.com.
Additionally, in an ongoing fundraiser effort, there are still Ty Beanie Babies and assorted Ty and Coca-Cola plushes available at “The Coosa County News” office in Rockford.
These Beanie Babies and plushes can be “adopted” with a donated amount of the individual’s choosing, and that donation will also be matched. All donations for the “adoption” of the plush animals go to the Coosa County Animal Shelter.
These were donated by Denise Nelson from her mother’s, Jo Scarbrough’s, personal collection. There is a wide variety from which to choose, with more being added as some are adopted.