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HEA auction based on celebrity donations

Local students show a limited number of the items to be auctioned off by the HEA on January 20th. Back row, from left: Rachel Wheeler, Tyana Gottsleben, Emma Slovek, Chana Gottsleben and Tara Gottsleben. Front: Elise Wheeler and Sayde Slovek.

The Haakon Education Association (HEA) will hold an auction of celebrity-donated items on January 20, 2008, in the Fine Arts Building, beginning at 1:00 p.m.

The organization is raising the final amount of funds necessary to purchase the centerpiece large play system for the elementary playground. There are 17 HEA members who include teachers, support staff, retired teachers and substitutes. Many non-members have also been helping with the playground equipment project.

So far, eight pieces of equipment have already been installed. Two balance beams donated in memory of Art Kroetch will be put in when the weather is warmer. The numerous donations range from $5 to purchasing entire pieces of equipment. Many individuals and businesses have purchased a spot on the future Wall of Fame for a minimum donation of $100.

"The entire community has been absolutely wonderful throughout the playground fundraising (process)," said Jessica Wheeler, HEA co-president along with Brenda Grenz. Wheeler continued, "On behalf of the children of the elementary school, I thank everyone who has given either time or money. The equipment that has already been installed has been so much fun for the elementary kids."

Philip High School Ag instructor Doug Hauk is arranging for several high school students to do the auctioneering. Desserts, coffee and other beverages will be sold.

The HEA is attempting to present an elegant auction house atmosphere in which each item represents a local or national celebrity or business. There will be no reserves. There will be a $500 minimum starting bid on the coin collection, but all the other pieces will be sold that day for whatever price they bring.

A number of auction items, and photos of some others, will be on display at the First National Bank in Philip. All of the items will be displayed the evening of January 19th during the home basketball game.

Wheeler sent out approximately 150 letters and e-mails to business, celebrities, authors, artists and others for donations of auctionable items. "I was hoping for around 25 percent of those letters to turn into an autographed donations," said Wheeler. "I was so surprised and pleased with the positive response from the celebrities.

"My second grade class loved when the mail would come with new items in it," Wheeler continued. "Each time we got a package it was like Christmas. Their favorites were from Big and Rich, Larry the Cable Guy, comedian Bill Engvall and the script from "According to Jim."

"I was most surprised to receive the autographed scripts and the autographed children's books. Being a teacher, it is a thrill to hold a book autographed by the famous author. The first book that I ever read on my own was "The Bike Lesson" by Stan and Jan Berenstain, so to receive not only a personal e-mail, but three autographed books from her was quite a thrill," said Wheeler.

The silver crown coins were donated by Cameron Johnston from Aberdeen, SD. He is a friend of Wheeler's family and wanted to help out the students. He had been collecting these coins since the 1970s and donated all of his receipts and documentation along with the coins. With each coin containing approximately one ounce of silver, the meltdown value alone is over $500. An interesting note is that one of the coins shows King Haakon of Norway. "That one is my favorite," said Wheeler, who will gladly show the coins ahead of time to anyone interested."

If anyone knows of any other locally or nationally known celebrities who would be willing to donate an autographed item, contact a HEA member.

The donated items already received are:

•signed drawing from Garfield creator, Jim Davis

•double book Clifford's Valentine's Day and Clifford, We Love You autographed by creator Norman Bridwell

•the book Love You Forever autographed by the author Robert Munsch

•three Berenstain Bears hardcover books autographed by creators Jan and Mike Berenstain (The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas, The Berenstain Bears Go On Vacation, The Berenstain Bears Go Back to School)

•shirt autographed by Larry the Cable Guy on which he wrote "Ya Got 'R Did - Larry The Cable Guy"

•an autographed photo of Raquel Welch

•three autographed photos from Betty White

•an autographed book Grandfather's Bedtime Stories from Frank A. Scout

•an autographed purse designed and made by Rebekah (Eggers) Scott, who used to live in Philip and whose parents are Bud and Peggy Eggers.

•original artwork of a Scottie dog by Lori Jones

•an original acrylic painting of a teapot signed by Ree Bachmeier

•a Wrangler poster signed by rodeo personalities (ropers, barrel racers, bull riders, etc.) from the PRCA - signed at Dallas, Texas

•a collection of 50 silver crown coins donated by Cameron Johnston

•four VIP tickets to a taping of a Dr. Phil show

•signed limited edition print of Gabe's World by Native American artist Jim Yellowhawk

•signed CD from Click and Clack, the Tapper Brothers from "Car Talk"

•autographed merchandise from cowboy poet Baxter Black - five Ag Man Comics, a hardcover book, two DVDs and a CD

•two calendars and a book from the Ace Reid Company. Ace Reid is the cartoon (the cowboy) run in ads sponsored by the First National Bank in Philip by the Pioneer Review

•two hardcover books from South Dakota Magazine

•novel "Deadly Strike" autographed by author Nyla Griffith

•a Jon Crane print - three outdoor scenes framed together

•a signed CD (Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace), signed photo, and two t-shirts from Big and Rich

•a script for the television show According to Jim signed by the entire cast, including guest start Lee Majors

•signed CD from Jim Belushi

•signed t-shirt and signed cap from comedian Bill Engvall

•signed Mister Seahorse poster