Between the impressive dinner buffet spread, intricate works of art up for grabs and a couple exotic live animals, attendees of Friday night’s annual Dorchester Silent Auction and Dinner Gala in Midway had a lot to take in.
The event preceded Saturday’s eighth annual Friends of Dorchester sporting clay shoot, which benefits the American Diabetes Association’s Kiss-A-Pig campaign, and also was part of Team Liberty’s two-day fundraising blitz.
The ADA’s annual campaign pits communities against each other to see who can raise the most money to help find a cure for diabetes. The candidate from the team that raises the most money will kiss Armani the pig at this year’s May 7 gala dinner in Savannah.
Dorchester Shooting Preserve owner Chuck Gaskin offers the site every year to assist Team Liberty in its quest to win the challenge. Gaskin, who suffers from diabetes, said he knows firsthand how difficult it can be to live with and manage the disease. His friend and shooting preserve member, Claude Dryden, has been fighting for the cause for several years.
"And we will do what we can to help him out," he said. "This is a cause that is always close to my heart, and everyone is having a great time."
The annual sporting clay shoot is the single largest fundraising event for the ADA and has brought in more than $300,000 since it started eight years ago.
This year, Team Liberty members decided to make a weekend out of the sporting clay shoot by adding Friday’s dinner and auction, which, according to Team Liberty supporter Stephanie Brown Osteen, raised $32,000.
People perused the silent auction offerings, which ranged from oil paintings to weekend getaways in a private condo in Sunbury.
A representative from the Georgia Southern Center for Wildlife Education brought two species of falcons to the event and talked about their hunting skills and behaviors.
Musician David Turner, who also suffers from diabetes, volunteered his time and entertained the crowd.
This year’s Team Liberty candidate, local attorney Joel Osteen, and his campaign manager, Danny Creasy, have been planning the event since the beginning of the year in the hopes of reaching this year’s $100,000 campaign fundraising goal.
Creasy said they initially set out to sell 150 tickets for the dinner and auction.
"And we exceeded the limit," he said. "We had to shut things down at around 175 tickets. Joel has done a great job and he is an outstanding candidate. Joel and his staff at Osteen and Osteen and (the law firm of) Jones, Osteen and Jones have done a lot of work for us behind the scenes. As for Chuck, I can’t say enough about what Chuck has done this year. He has been in high gear."
By Friday evening, Creasy said, they had roughly 40 teams that had pre-registered and paid for the clay shoot.
"We are on course," he said, to reach this year’s goal.
The results of yesterday’s clay shoot, including the winning teams, will be in Wednesday’s Coastal Courier.