|Sam Gray with George the polyester moose, available Aug. 28 at the Rotary auction.|
By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – It's crunch time for Sam Gray, official retriever for the annual Rotary auction. Yesterday, Gray was feeling pretty pumped about a call he got from John Laurent of Windham.
“He's got a moosehead,” said Gray, imagining the cash cow of a trophy, something big enough to boost the competitive bidding right through the roof. So you can imagine his surprise when Laurent unveiled George, the polyester wall trophy.
“We don't like killing animals, but we needed something for our stone fireplace -- every stone has meaning,” explained Suzanne Laurent. “When we found the stuffed moosehead, we new it was just what we were looking for.”
Although it wasn't exactly what Gray was looking for, he's certain someone else will be smitten by the huggable mounted moose, one of many one-of-a-kind donations he's been stockpiling over the past month.
Last year's auction raised about $14,000, money that for the most part is reinvested in the community, said Rotarian Vickie Buckley Chase.
“It also supports our international project, which is to eradicate polio – all the money goes toward great charities that make a difference,” Chase said.
Gray also picked up a snow blower and crib with mattress from the Laurents, who recently put a for sale sign outside – people moving often provide treasure troves of goods for auction, said Gray.
“The other day we went up to an auction in Concord. Picked up a whole truckload of good stuff – we paid money for it, but I'm pretty sure it will bring in even more,” Gray said.
Chase said donations to the annual auction have been steady, despite a continued tough economy.
“Sam told me his truck looks like something from the 'Beverly Hillbillies,' only with better stuff,” said Chase. Her husband, a woodworker, has donated a 13-inch wood lathe, a shaper with new Craftsman bits and a jointer.
“I'm not sure what all that is, but he says anyone who works with wood will know that it's all good stuff,” said Chase.
Gray takes great pride in the vastness and variety of items in storage for the auction – he likes to say that if he doesn't have it, then you don't need it. Along with household items, yard tools and small appliances, there are also several antiques ready for auction, including an armoire, rocking chairs – even an old pogo stick.
“We're fortunate that the businesses in the community donating have been working with us for 20 years, so they always come through for us. But the other story with the economy is that, yeah, we might get a lower bids for an actual gift certificate, but we're pulling in as much or more for items donated by the private sector – people really need these everyday items and are finding great deals,” Chase said.
Registration is free. Smaller items will be set up yard sale style and available for purchase throughout the day, and $50 raffle tickets will be sold for a chance at $2,500.
The auction will be held rain or shine August 28 at Dave Allen Auto Sales on Manchester Road. Registration is at 9 a.m., and the auction starts at 10 a.m. Donations are still being accepted. Call 425-1905 to make arrangements for drop off or pick up.