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Sunflower supporters break record, raise $60,000 at Charity Gala
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Guests at the Sunflower Charity Gala VIP table enjoy the prime rib dinner at the Great Bend Convention Center. The event raised a record-setting $60,000. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

          The March 1 snowstorm didn’t chill the spirits of Sunflower Diversified Services supporters. They came out in force and donated a record $60,000 to people with disabilities at the non-profit agency’s ninth annual Charity Gala, said Connie Oetken, Sunflower director of development.

          “No matter what words we use to express our gratitude, they seem to fall short,” Oetken said. “This tremendous local support of people with developmental disabilities and delays says a lot about our community. The generosity is overwhelming.”

          Even though some out-of-town supporters couldn’t attend the event because of the snow, the Gala hosted 140 people. Forty of those were newcomers.

          “We are so thankful to those who have attended in the past, as well as our new supporters,” Oetken said. “Their combined efforts mean that our neighbors who need a helping hand will have more resources to help pay for services they need.”

          For example, tax dollars cannot cover many medical and dental services, or the cost of adaptive equipment that is so important for independent living, Oetken noted.

          Every cent raised goes directly to help individuals in Sunflower’s service area, which includes Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.

          Scott Donovan, Mike Niedens, Jane Isern, Gail Carpenter, Classic Inn, the city of Great Bend, and Gary and Cindy Parr helped make the event especially entertaining this year, Oetken commented.

          “Just like all the those who donated in any way, this team made for a great evening at the Great Bend Convention Center,” Oetken said. “Each donor, sponsor and volunteer deserves the community’s appreciation for the record-setting results.”