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The Times
  • Herkimer County shows heart at benefit, auction

  • When the chips are down, local communities pull together.

    That’s what happened in a big way Sunday when hundreds of area residents came together for a benefit and Chinese auction to assist local families affected by the March 13 shootings and fire.

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  • When the chips are down, local communities pull together.
    That’s what happened in a big way Sunday when hundreds of area residents came together for a benefit and Chinese auction to assist local families affected by the March 13 shootings and fire.
    There were so many items donated for the Chinese auction that it had to be moved from the main venue for the benefit, at the Crowley Barnum American Legion Post No. 25 in Mohawk, to Francesca’s banquet facility in Ilion. Auction-goers were lined up out the door and down the sidewalk waiting for an opportunity to purchase tickets.
    Inside, auction items were lined up on table after table and included such offerings as a dog basket, garden basket, baking basket, kids’ zoo bus, metal tractor, Mohawk blanket, photographs of Weller Park, a bird house, a picnic cooler, coffee maker, movie night basket, Easter goodies and Barbie dolls. A garden wheelbarrow, an office chair, a large-screen television set and a large handmade clock were among the large ticket items displayed on one end of the room.
    “This overabundance of support makes me very proud to represent Herkimer County,” said Robert Schrader, District 3 Hekrimer County legislator.
    “It’s almost overwhelming,” said Jean Maneen, District 4 Herkimer County legislator, who was also looking through the offerings for bags in which to leave her tickets.
    Parking was at a premium near the Legion in Mohawk as supporters crowded the main hall to eat, listen to music and participate in additional fundraisers that were part of the benefit including a bake sale and raffles.
    Stacey Ross, a volunteer at the bake sale, said the sale had already taken in about $250 before 2 p.m. “And we still have many hours to go,” she said. “Pies have been big sellers.”
    A heated tent was set up in the Legion parking lot to help handle the overflow crowd.
    The benefit was organized by Shawn McGraw, of Envision Event Management, and Ed View, of Mohawk.
    The chain of events March 13 began that morning when Kurt Myers, 64, of 32 S. Washington St., Mohawk, set fire to his apartment. He then drove to John’s Barber Shop where he shot four men, killing Harry M. Montgomery, of Mohawk, and Michael G. Rancier, of Herkimer — and injuring John Seymour and Dan Haslauer. Myers drove to Gaffey’s Fast Lube in Herkimer, where he shot and killed Thomas Stefka, an employee at Gaffey’s, and Michael L. Renshaw, a customer. Myers then holed up in the former Glory Days building until the following morning when state troopers and FBI agents entered the building and shot and killed Myers after he fired at them.
    The events stunned local residents and drew national media attention.

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