Story and photo by Joe Vinduska
The Barton Community College Foundation Board has chosen to recognize Brad and Sarah Shirer with the “Old Bill Honorarium” at its 43rd Annual Big Benefit Auction, which is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Great Bend Columbus Club and is themed “Boots and Brews.” The Honorarium allows auction attendees to donate to a scholarship in the honoree’s name to be awarded for the 23-24 academic year.
Sarah said working with the college foundation and observing the college grow over the years has been an amazing experience.
“It’s time, money and effort well spent because you see it reflected in the community and people of all ages and stages of life come here to enhance their abilities or to improve their situation,” she said. “So, it’s a good feeling to see how things continue to develop and grow and it’s fun to share that with people. We meet students at the college and then we see them working in town and watching them grow up.”
Brad said the auction is always a great time and the event is fun for people of all ages.
“We’ve always had such a good time,” he said. “It's been fun to watch the change in the crowd over the years. We’re seeing younger generations showing up at the auctions and it's great to see. You feel like it's going to continue and there's a lot of excitement in the room. The Foundation always does a wonderful job of getting a wide variety of items. Everybody can find something at the auction.”
Foundation Director Lindsey Bogner said the Foundation was excited to honor the Shirers for their years of positive involvement with the college.
“The Shirers have a long family history of supporting Barton,” she said. “Brad and Sarah have supported the college in so many ways, and you can tell they ‘get it.’ They understand the importance of all the amazing things the college does and that’s why they’ve made it a priority in their lives.”
Brad said they were very honored to be recognized by the Foundation as part of the Old Bill tradition.
“There have been a lot of very influential names on this honorarium and to have our names included is just the most amazing thing,” he said. “This is a huge honor. It’s just tremendous. We can't thank everyone enough.”
Those wishing to contribute to the honorarium in the name of the Shirers but cannot attend this year’s event may do so by contacting the Foundation office at (620) 792-9306, or by sending an email to [email protected].
Tickets for the Barton Foundation’s 43rd Annual Big Benefit Auction, themed “Boots and Brews,” are available through Aug. 12. The auction will take place on Aug. 27.
Tickets are $50 each or $400 per table of eight. No tickets will be sold at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Great Bend Columbus Club with complimentary beer and food available until 8 p.m.
The live auction will begin promptly at 8 p.m. This year’s auction is underwritten by UMB Wealth Management, Craig & Jolene Biggs, Nex-Tech, Spectrum CPA Partners, LLC, and Eagle Radio and Hull Broadcasting.
The Big Benefit Auction is the most successful and longest-running fundraiser for the Barton Foundation. The money raised from the event supports academic scholarships, along with enhancements to programs and facilities that positively impact the learning experience of Barton students.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Barton Foundation office at (620) 792-9306 or by sending an email to [email protected].
About the Old Bill Honorarium
In 1981, the Claflin Fire Department donated a stuffed buffalo head to the Foundation auction. This unique item was christened as “Old Bill” and quickly became a mainstay of this annual event being auctioned off each year since. To date, Old Bill has netted nearly $300,000 in support of academic scholarships. Since 2002, the money generated from the sale of Old Bill has taken on an additional purpose – to honor loyal supporters and donors to Barton Community College.