By JULIE E. GREENE
8:04 PM EST, January 27, 2013
As wine was poured, hors d’oeuvres were tasted and music was performed, several people milled about tables, deciding whether to place bids on items ranging from gift cards and gift baskets to personal concerts and a Bustin Ratmobile, a downhill skateboard.
The Gourmet Goat on North Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown hosted the fourth annual Wine and Cheese, Silent and Lively Auction on Sunday to benefit the Community Free Clinic.
The clinic, on Mill Street, treats medically uninsured Washington County residents for free. Robin Roberson, the clinic’s executive director, said the clinic manages about 2,500 patients.
Diabetes remains the top challenge, and winter continues to present the greatest demand as residents’ budgets get tighter with heating costs, she said.
The clinic has been seeing many people for the flu lately, she said.
The Gourmet Goat event raises money through silent and live auctions, as well as a $25 admission fee.
Last year’s event raised $17,200 for the clinic, which does not receive state or federal funds, Roberson said.
This year, organizers were hoping to exceed that amount.
Among the items up for auction was a three-day stay at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas that included a $500 restaurant credit, a $500 spa credit and two tickets to Cirque du Soleil, said Paul Deputy, who co-owns the restaurant with Steve Cook. MGM donated the package, he said.
Also up for auction was a wine tasting for 10, donated by Jim and Cindy Marsden, and a 30-minute helicopter ride for two, piloted by Dave Rider.
Gail David, 49, of Hagerstown, had her eye on one of the silent auction items.
“I won’t tell you what it is, but I keep going over there and checking it,” said David, who learned about the event from Stephanie Stone.
“I love the Community Free Clinic,” said Stone, who used to be the director of Washington County Partnership for Children and Families, which provided funding for the clinic.
“I’ve a real passion for what they do,” said Stone, 59, of Hagerstown.
Stone learned about the event from her brother-in-law, Jim Stone, who called to ask her husband, Doug, to donate an item for the auction, she said.
Doug Stone, 62, donated one of the silk-screen prints he made of the original Hagerstown courthouse and marketplace in the old Hagerstown Square, he said.
Stone said it was his first time attending the fundraiser.
“It’s great. It’s a great thing that these guys do for the Community Free Clinic,” he said.
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