Anacortes Rotary Fall Auction brings in $70,000 including $34,000 for Veterans 
The Veterans Service Office of the Causland American Legion Post in Anacortes is the primary beneficiary of the Anacortes Rotary Club fundraiser that brought in an estimated $70,000 Oct. 13. Of the total, $34,000 came during the special “raise the paddle” for the Veterans Service Officer program, which provides professional assistance to an estimated 2500 local veterans and dependents. 
Accredited American Legion service officers are specially trained to provide expert assistance, at no charge, to veterans and their families. While much of a service officer’s work involves applications for Veterans Administration disability benefits, these compassionate professionals also provide information, referrals and resources on education, employment, death benefits, hospice care and other important topics. Local service officers also lend and maintain a limited supply of equipment to assist disabled veterans.
Remaining auction proceeds will benefit scholarships for Anacortes students and a wide range of other Rotary local and international charitable priorities, including the Anacortes Boys & Girls Club, the Anacortes Robotics teams and reading and job shadow programs.
 “Helped by remarkable donors, volunteers and sponsors, we had a fun and successful evening of fundraising,” said auction event chair Bonnie Bowers. “On behalf of our club, our sponsors and our charitable beneficiaries, I offer our genuine appreciation to the Anacortes community.”
“Our club’s designated beneficiary this year, the work of the Causland Legion Post Veterans Service Officers, meets an array of critical requirements for our local Vets,” Bowers said.
 “The local Veterans Service Program is reaching more and more veterans with special needs, so our club is proud to be a supporter.,” said Anacortes Rotary President Krista Oicles. “From the bottom of my heart, I am especially grateful for all the community support for this much-needed effort.”
“Rotary’s support for our three-person program is a key to our work on behalf of the Fidalgo Island veterans,” said Walter Garland, the program coordinator for the local post. “I know this generous contribution will have direct, profound impact on the well-being of the veterans we serve.”
Garland said the job for his officers involves assisting with the VA appeal process, providing medical advocacy, establishing hospice service connections and helping to deal with VA benefit errors. Recent examples of local veterans assisted by the Causland Post officers include:
•             A world War II veteran who suffered a near fatal heart attack. His wife, while hurriedly applying for her husband’s benefits, had a serious stroke. Both landed in local hospital intensive care units.
•             A Vietnam Veteran, first struggling to assist with an adult child’s substance abuse problem, then faced medical care needs for his wife’s heart attack. Bills come to more than $60,000.
 •            An Iraq Veteran stained to keep a job while trying to support his wife and five children, ages 3 to 14, as they live in a 28-foot trailer.
An estimated 175 people attended the club’s Fall Fundraiser and supported the featured “Raise the Auction Paddle” event to help veterans. Dozens of volunteers from the Rotary Clubs of Anacortes, Fidalgo Island and La Conner supported the event.
According to Anacortes Rotary officials, final numbers are being tallied as last-minute donations and expenses are totaled.    
Major sponsors for the event included Barton Waring, Strandberg Construction, Williams & Nulle, PLLC, Burton Jewelers, Tides and Anacortes and Wayne and Liz Weideman.
Recipients for Anacortes Rotary funds undergo a careful review by the Club’s giving committee each year. The club announces its application procedure each fall. Watch the club website,, for details next year.