Elephant auction nets $16,700 for local charities and more

Sue Guinn Legg • Oct 20, 2018 at 7:24 PM

ERWIN — With auctioneer Kimball Sterling presiding over the bidding, Saturday's Erwin Elephant Revival auction of eight baby elephant statues raised $16,700 for local charities and two nonprofit elephant protection groups.

Jamie Rice, president of the RISE Erwin young professionals organization, which brought the benefit public art auction to town for the first time last year, was excited over the the results.

“We did great. They all sold. We raised a lot of money for a lot of charities. And we’re excited we will be able to keep this public art auction going.”

Rice estimated a crowd of about 50 people stood through the rain that fell on the early afternoon auction at The Gathering Place park downtown to bid and say farewell as the popular little elephant herd left town.

“The rain didn’t dampen their spirits. They all came here to support the Elephant Revival and we’re thrilled it’s going to continue. Our third herd of baby elephant statues will debut in May, and we’re already looking for sponsors,” Rice said.

The buyers and sponsors were happy as well.

Jim Davis, owner of the McDonald’s of Erwin, was both, sponsoring an elephant to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and purchasing an elephant that will also go the local Ronald McDonald House, if there’s room for it, he said. “If not, it will go to my house.”

Nancy Murphy of Johnson City was quite happy with her purchase of Chintz, the paisley elephant from which the lion’s share of the proceeds will go the Holston United Methodist Home for Children. Chintz, meanwhile, was destined for Murphy’s living room.

Lori and Jenna Miller of Gray were two more happy buyers, and were likewise taking their new elephant, Stella, home to Gray, where she will go on display alongside the baby elephant statue they purchased in last year’s auction.

Other nonprofit beneficiaries of Saturday’s auction included Relay for Life of Unicoi County, Love Chapel Christian Church in Erwin, The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, and the Elephant Parade of Thailand charitable foundation for the protection of Asian elephant habitats.

To sponsor an elephant in next year’s auction, or for more details about the Erwin Elephant Revival, contact Jamie Rice at [email protected] or 423-220-7624.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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