Hundreds gather for Oaklawn's 'Cinco de Marzo' benefit auction at FireKeepers

March 8, 2016Auction 2015 Lets Make a Deal
Hundreds gather for Oaklawn’s ‘Cinco de Marzo’ benefit auction at FireKeepers

MARSHALL – Hundreds of area residents got into the spirit of “Cinco de Marzo” on March 5, and many left with great deals – all while boosting community health care.

“It’s just great to see everybody getting together to help out in a tremendous show of support,” said Lowell Weaver II, chair of the 26th annual Oaklawn Hospital Benefit Auction.

“The turnout was gratifying, and everybody who worked for so long on this did a terrific job,” Weaver said.

The event at FireKeepers Casino Hotel also allowed the community to demonstrate its support for gold-standard health care, and the people who work daily to provide it to patients who come from throughout the region, said Ryan Traver, the event’s acquisitions organizer.

Weaver, general manager of The Medalist Golf Club, announced that Traver – owner and brand manager at BluFish Consulting – will chair next year’s auction.

“Over the years, people throughout the area have given Oaklawn tremendous support through the auction, and this was no different,” said Mike Beck, who directs Oaklawn’s development and marketing teams and served as master of ceremonies for the event.

“It’s hard to express how grateful we are for all of the help we received from everyone – our sponsors, volunteers and donors – for this year’s effort,” Beck said. “And FireKeepers has been a spectacular partner, too.”

The annual auction “allows everyone an opportunity to get out at this time of year, be together and have a fun time for a good cause,” said Mayor Jack Reed, who attended the event. “It’s a win-win for Oaklawn, and I don’t think we can take for granted for one second what we have here in our community.”

“Mystery items” valued at hundreds of dollars were won by Troy Huggett, Laura DeLong and Randy Fisher during a “Let’s Make a Deal” game. It was followed by a live auction of items donated by area businesses and individuals, and conducted by Brent Belcher and Kevin Belcher of Belcher Auction Company of Marshall.

The night’s top raffle winners were Janelle Lamberg, who won a Samsung 65-inch ultra-HD television set, and Ted Hall, who won a 32-gigabyte iPad Pro. Both items were donated by Lansing-based HBC Contracting and Mike and Alicia Beck.

Winners of watches and other jewelry items donated by King Jewelers were Randy Davis, James Lakatos, Connie Monroe and Justin Sharp.

Live musical entertainment was provided by Chameleon Lite featuring Chris Bocanegra.

The event’s organizers extended gratitude to dozens of sponsors and supportive “angels,” including Cerner Corp.; HBC Contracting; Miller Canfield; Schroeder, DeGraw, PLLC; Bank of America/Merrill Lynch; the Beck Family; Key Bank; Lighthouse Insurance Group; and Parks Drug Store Inc.

The annual auction has raised more than $1.5 million for the hospital since the event’s inception in 1991, allowing Oaklawn to purchase clinical equipment and provide health-care services to its patients throughout the communities it serves.

“It usually takes about a week to get all the expenses tallied and know what the net figure comes to, but we know we were very successful – and everyone had a great time,” Weaver said.

“It takes a lot of very hard work by several dozen people to make this happen each year,” he said. “And the contribution that the auction has made is immense, by helping to uphold quality health care for patients throughout the communities Oaklawn serves.