Main Event: Red Cross benefit brings back some past beneficiaries

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Adam Lenhart of Minneapolis gives a tequila 101 talk during a fundraiser at the International Event Center in Rochester.

More than 250 people sipped margaritas, sampled spicy Mexican fare and listened to the festive music of Booker & Friends at the third annual South of the Border Soiree, May 22 at the Rochester International Event Center.

The event grossed nearly $23,000 to assist the southeast Minnesota chapter of the American Red Crossas it responds to local disasters.

"Tonight is important because it is our only event where the public comes out in support for our local disaster relief program," said Melanie Tschida, executive director of the American Red Cross. "It's a good time for a good cause."

"This event gets bigger each year," said Kris Ihrkefrom the Red Cross. "We so appreciate the community support."

Jami Fishbaugher, attending for the first time said, "Red Cross does amazing things for our community. We are having a great time, and we want to help out."


Al Manninovolunteered his time for the evening and was walking with an armful of red beads for those game to play Heads or Tails. "I think it's important to give time and donations to social safety agencies such as the Red Cross. It's a good event since the money raised tonight helps those affected locally by disaster," he said.

"We make financial contributions throughout the year," said Sheryl Warfield. "And this is another way to support a great organization that helps people through the tireless effort of the volunteers."

"As a nurse, I feel it's just a great cause to support," said Bob Kirchner. "They do a lot of good in the community."

"My husband and I donate blood regularly," said Lynn Wightman,with husband Ronand daughter Janelle. "We wanted to come tonight to further support the work of the Red Cross."

"I donated a few items to the auction; I come every year to this event. I appreciate that the money goes straight to disaster relief to help in all sorts of situations in the community," said Ruth Johnson, who attended with her sister, Anna Oeltjen.

"The Red Cross is very important to the community; they're always there," noted Mark St. Peter. "The need is great; resources are in great need."

"They helped us out when a storm passed through Millville, and we had no electricity for three days," said Jayand Kari Schmidt. "We'll always remember the help they gave us."

Jackie McNallanalso came to support the organization that helped her after disaster struck. "When we had a fire, the Red Cross was one of the first services to come and help us out," she said. "They truly make a difference in a crisis."


According to its mission, the "American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors."

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Up next

On Aug. 26, we'll feature Power of the Purse, a fundraiser for United Way.

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