Mercedes 'float' destined for raffle for Austin's House

Board members for the Carson Valley Children's Center worked fast in the fading light to decorate their entry with lights before the Parade of Lights was to begin at dusk. The object of their efforts was to draw attention to a mint condition 1991 Mercedes 560 SEC that is to be raffled as a fundraiser for Austin's House Carson Valley Children's Center due to open in spring 2007. It appeared more like a Keystone Cops routine as Linda Cuddy, Gary and Lee Pyle and Terry Palmitier tried to attach lights without putting a scratch or scuff mark on the vehicle.

The Mercedes has a history of raising funds for good causes. It had once been a raffle fundraiser for the City of Refuge and by a quirk of fate, was won by Patty Clark, founder of the Austin Kirby Foundation that helps raise funds for a children's center in Carson Valley. The Austin Kirby Foundation was founded in memory of Clark's 15-year-old grandson, Austin Kirby, who took his life when he couldn't endure the emotional struggles he faced from epilepsy, onset from early childhood, and celiac disease. He was being treated with four potent medications which created adverse side effects.

According to Clark, she had purchased a raffle ticket to support the City of Refuge fundraiser, never dreaming she would win. She related the story of Judge Dave Gamble's comment to her when he announced her as the winner and said, "You won it fair and square, but I knew when I saw your name it (the car) would have a second life in another raffle."

The Mercedes is a gold-color two-door coupe with 71,000 miles on it. The tickets are $25 each or five for $100, all a tax-deductible donation. The winning ticket will be drawn at the grand opening of Austin's House.

For further information or to purchase tickets, call Clark at 782-7111.


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