Shirley Heinze Land Trust held their 10th annual Spring Benefit at the Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton, Indiana on June 8th, welcoming over 300 supporters of the cause to purchasing and preserving four of Indiana’s Natural Gems.
For me, the night began at 10:00 AM. I had the pleasure of meeting all those of the Shirley Heinze Land Trust as we set up for the benefit that would finally take place after months of preparation and planning. The air was electrified with the busyness and excitement of placing all the auction items in the correct location, readying each table and chair with the necessary items to participate in the auction, arranging the beautifully done archway near the entrance, and more.
Upon my arrival, I met with several other volunteers that I’d be working with that night. It was then I realized I’d be the baby: about a decade younger than the rest of the crowd. However, I’m very happy to say I wasn’t treated like one! Shirley Heinze Land Trust’s Spring Benefit team had everything running efficiently and smoothly, making sure everyone both had a place and understood their place.
After working the terminals, I was introduced to and made connections with many of the attendees of the auction, such as Senator Richard Lugar, Dr. Meg DeMakas, Mr. Leigh Morris, and more. (At one point, we all just so happened to have convened at the wondrous chocolate fountain by chance.) Anne Walsh, of Shirley Henize Land Trust, and Keith Kirkpatrick, my SLYCE mentor, kept me shaking hands before I headed off with my fellow volunteers to collect the silent auction sheets. All items had been sold – from artistic oil paintings to a pair of vintage lamps, the lot had all been taken to new owners’ homes that night.
The live auction was entirely successful. It was a great, exciting experience for me to have the opportunity to attend one. For me, the best part of the auction was when the land formerly known as Camp Meadowbrook was purchased to be preserved. I had gone there when I was a little Girl Scout, and although I was saddened to see that it had closed, I was glad to know that the land would not be trifled with or wasted. The highest bidding, for an eight-person dinner along the shore of Lake Michigan, ran for a grand $2,000. As these generous donations kept piling up, I couldn't help being humbled knowing that all these proceeds were going entirely to saving our wildlife in Northwest Indiana.
Overall, the night was a huge success and those who planned and organized it all, planned and organized it extremely well. I felt accepted among them all and hope to maintain touch. It always serves as a great boost in my faith in humanity when I see people doing so much for unselfish reasons. The effects of the events of that night will last for a very, very long time.