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Over $51K donated at Sunflower Charity Gala
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K.B. Bell prepares to take a spin on the well-traveled bicycle that has become an annual auction item at the Sunflower Diversified Services Charity Gala.

Sunflower Diversified Services clients will realize many benefits from the more than $51,000 raised at the non-profit agency’s recent Charity Gala.
“For the first time, more than 200 people reserved a spot at the Gala,” said Connie Oetken, director of development. “The 203 people who had these reservations, as well as all the donors and volunteers made this a spectacular event once again.
“We don’t know how we can thank everyone who gave their time, talent and money,” Oetken continued. “But we will continue to express our appreciation any chance we get. It is so gratifying to know central Kansans support their neighbors with intellectual delays and disabilities.”
The net income of $51,292 included $4,050 from Sunflower’s version of Deal or No Deal and $3,800 for the Invest in Kids Club. The 1999 Harley-Davidson Road King brought $7,500 during the live auction.
All Gala proceeds will directly benefit infants, toddlers and adults in Sunflower’s service area, which includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.
“We are happy to report that each of our counties was represented at the Gala,” Oetken commented. “Everyone involved can be assured their generosity will help fund services, medical and dental care, and adaptive equipment that tax dollars will not pay for.”
Oetken noted that the 13th annual Gala fulfilled its promise of helping people with disabilities, while offering a fun evening at the same time.
“Auctioneer Mike Niedens and Emcee Scott Donovan always keep the crowd entertained,” she said. “And Emma Bieker was great at the keyboard.”
The city of Great Bend, which operates the Great Bend Events Center, and Classic Inn, which catered the meal, also played instrumental roles in the Gala’s success, Oetken noted. The 14th annual Gala is set for March 2, 2019.
“We hope people will mark this on their calendars now,” Oetken said. “All of us at Sunflower are already looking forward to seeing our regular crowd and would love to meet some newcomers.”
Sunflower is in its 52nd year.