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Celebrity auction by Connellsville Area Patriots to benefit troops

| Saturday, April 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Marilyn Forbes I For Trib Total Media
The annual Connellsville Area Patriots Club auction will be taking place on May 2 and founder Linda Shearer is keeping busy as she organizers the dozens of items donated for the auction.

One a regular basis, dozens of soldier overseas receive packages that are gently packed with care, put together by the volunteers who make up the Connellsville Area Patriots.

Founded 10 years ago by Connellsville Area High School teacher Linda Shearer of Connellsville, the group's main goal is to recognize soldiers and veterans through programs, acknowledgements and by sending packages overseas on a regular basis.

But putting together care packages takes money, and nine years ago the group decided to host an auction that would act as a fundraising project for the group, generating needed monies for package items and shipping costs.

“We needed to raise a significant amount of money,” Shearer said. The auction features items sent to the group by celebrities from all over the world. “Everyone is competing for the same dollar and all projects are important, so I decided to try something different and allow the members' input. They come up with the names of the people to whom we send letters.”

The group gets together every January and sends out thousands of letters, requesting donated items that are then auctioned off at the event.

The auction has grown in popularity and is now a large factor in the group's continued success.

“Attendance and revenue has increased each year,” Shearer said. “That is remarkable to me, especially in this tough economy.”

The auction will feature dozens of items from autographed photos and books, to trips and jewelry, with all proceeds funding the cause.

“We believe there is something for everyone and that those who attend have a great time and walk away with a sense of satisfaction knowing they helped promote patriotism,” Shearer said. “Every cent we raise goes to support those currently deployed as well as to honor/recognize our veterans. We like to say that we help keep the ‘free in freedom.' ”

Terms for the auction will be cash or check. Food will be available.

“We'd like to thank everyone who helps make this event a success. It wouldn't happen without everyone,” Shearer said. “I greatly appreciate the student and adult volunteers who share my passion and graciously donate their time. An auction couldn't take place without items and an auctioneer. We are grateful for the celebrities and local ‘celebrities' who donate items, and especially Glassburn Auctioneers and the Elks have been supportive of our efforts since April 2003.”

A complete list of auction items can be seen at www.cahspatriots.com.

The auction will be conducted May 2 at the Connellsville Elks.

Preview will start at 4:30 p.m. with the auction to begin at 6.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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