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Auction boosts Adaptive Sports

Published in the Durango Herald on September 25, 2010

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

It was a wonderful and bittersweet evening when Adaptive Sports Association held its 10th and final Harvest Gala Dinner & Auction at Ken and Sue’s on Thursday.

The event, which is known for being great fun, sold out in less than a week, so all 120 seats were filled. Guests arrived to schmooze and nosh on appetizers such as shrimp and mascarpone-filled pastry squares, curry sirloin sticks with dill yogurt, grilled zucchini cakes with herb aioli, scallop hush puppies with lemon-caper tartar and baby mushroom caps with chive goat cheese. All the while, they were cruising and bidding on the silent auction items.

Then it was out to the patio and dinner. I imagine that the downpours Wednesday were a little worrying to organizers. Luckily, it was a gorgeous night, and warm enough that some groups turned off the outside heaters…

While the numbers are still being tallied, all of these generous folks helped the ASA top last year’s take, a welcome sign.

An event of this caliber requires a lot of work. The committee members were Sally Bellerue,Cheung, Joseph Cimini, Esser, Kristin Hilliard, House, Pat Kolvek, Miles Lillard, Trina Martin and Susan Tait. Several other volunteers helped the night of the event, including Judy Abercrombie, Dee Dee Carlsen, Rob Foster, Rick and Lee Hagar, Gloria Kaasch, Susan Kroes, Ann Marie Meighan, Mary Mummery and Sachiko Umbhau.

Adaptive Sports is a great organization, offering all kinds of outdoor recreational activities to people with physical and mental disabilities. One of many reasons people choose to live here is to enjoy those activities, and it is a demonstration of people’s compassion and generosity that we want to make those activities accessible to all.

One of the things I think ASA has done that is most exciting is adding summer activities to its offerings. This year, it added mountain biking, rock climbing, water skiing and several world-class, multiday river trips to its schedule.

Only a few years old, the summer activities’ popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2009, there was a 14 percent increase in participant days, and by early August this year, the organization had seen a 29 percent increase. (The winter of 2009-10 was up 17 percent as well.)

The program depends on a lot of volunteer hours. Last winter, 208 volunteers contributed more than 9,400 hours to the ski/snowboard program, a 15 percent increase over the winter before.

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