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Published on 05/11/05 in the Fostoria Focus
Good Shepherd Benevolent Dinner and Auction makes bid for success
By LEONARD SKONECKI Focus Correspondent

“This is a good thing. It’’s a good problem to have.”

Good Shepherd Home Administrator Chris Widman didn’t mind a bit that the home’s annual Benevolent Fund Dinner and Auction was late getting started. So many people showed up that the evening’s proceedings were delayed so extra tables could be set up.

When the evening was over, Chris was still pleased. The dinner/auction, the second annual such fundraiser for Good Shepherd, raised approximately $10,000, roughly $3,000 more than last year’s.

“Fantastic” was the way Chris described it.

The purpose of the dinner/auction is to build up Good Shepherd’s Benevolent Fund. The fund’s purpose is to insure residents who have exhausted their personal funds are able to remain in the home.

Good Shepherd is a member of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, an organization of 23 nursing homes. Annually, these facilities incur $14 million in “uncompensated care” expenses.

According to the Fellowship, uncompensated care is that provided to residents whose “daily living costs are not covered by normal revenue: their own assets, family ability or willingness to pay, private-pay insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.”

At the time of its 1972 expansion, GSH began receiving monies under the Hill-Burton Act to pay for the care of residents whose resources had run out. In 2004, Good Shepherd’s funding under Hill-Burton ran out.

GSH also utilized a Medicaid-like program called RSS to pay for uncompensated care, but those funds, too, are no longer available. In addition, the State of Ohio cut Medicaid rates, costing Good Shepherd $160,000 in revenues in 2004.

As the extent of these changes became clear, Good Shepherd’s board decided to act.

“So a couple years ago, our board had the foresight to say we need to establishment mechanism where we can sustain when things change,” Chris said. “It decided to establish a benevolent fund so we can use the earnings from that fund to help people who run out of their own resources.”

That was the serious stuff. Then came the fun part.

Crystal Macias and Rachel Holman organized the event. They had planned for 108, but when all was said and done and the additional tables made ready, nearly 130 people gathered in the home’s lower level.

The invocation for the evening was given by Good Shepherd Chaplain Jim Sampson. He prayed that everyone be blessed with “loose purse strings.”

Chris told everyone to keep a careful eye on their bidding cards “because if you don’t use them, we will.” With that, he turned the microphone over to auctioneer Greg Peiffer who donated his services for the event.

The biggest money maker was a weekend package for eight at Great Wolf Lodge donated by Clouse Construction that went for $650. Charles Knight made the winning bid of $600 for a weekend at a Lake Erie condo donated by Greg and Linda Peiffer.

Lenny Clouse has been a major participant in both Benevolent Fund Dinners, both as a contributor and a bidder. In addition to the Great Wolf Lodge package, Clouse Construction donated four Indians tickets and six Ritz Theater tickets.

Clouse Construction has become a part of the Good Shepherd family. They are the contractor for the new renovation taking place now at the home. The work is nearly done and open houses might be held as soon as June or July.

Auctions produce pleasantly humorous moments. Like when Greg began to auction the miniature Ohio State football helmet autographed by Chris Spielman.

Greg suggested helpfully that Frank Kinn couldn’t spend his money better than to bid on this nifty item. Greg must have forgotten that Frank is a loyal Michigan fan.

The Good Shepherd Activity Dept. donated an Italian dinner for eight. Greg said, “I hear this is good.”

Activity Director Cindy Swartz said, “It is good!”

Greg said, “Why don’t you bid on it?”

Cindy pleaded conflict of interest, “I can’t. I’m helping make it.”

The main auction raised over $5,100. Another $1,000 was raised by the silent auction. Dinner proceeds at $15 per person netted another $2,000 and several private donations brought the preliminary total to just over $10,000.

The second Good Shepherd Benevolent Dinner and Auction was a big step toward insuring quality of care to all Good Shepherd’s residents, regardless of their financial condition.

“Thank you, everyone, for coming and participating,” Chris said. “It was a tremendous success thanks to you. We’ll see you next year.”

The following persons, businesses and organizations contributed items for the auction: Becky Theis, Eleanor Wenzke, Greg and Linda Peiffer, Rachel Holman, Clouse Construction, Commercial Carpet and Tile, Jeanene Pifer, Gene Schalk, Direct Link Computers, Leonard Skonecki, Grace and Earl Lehmann, ICP Pharmacy, Cliff Cockie, Corporate One — Ron Burns, Buck Withers, Good Shepherd Activity Dept., Nick Alger, LouAnn Brandeberry, Arnold Vending, Payne Greenhouse, Howard Wershbale, Therese Clouse, Linden Landscaping, Reineke Ford, Swan House, JB Tours, LakeFront Lines, Carmella’s, L’Art Decoré, Courtley Interiors, Home & Garden — Diana Spyker, Miller Electric, Joanne & Roger Seibert, GSH Woodworkers, Bucci Group, Whirlpool Corp., New Riegel Café, OE Meyer, Paramount Health, Four Seasons, Smith Frozen Foods, Good Shepherd, Kathy Theis, Stephanie Wright and Geary Family YMCA.