Rotary fundraiser deals winning hand

Sixth annual Casino Night fundraiser of the Rotary Club of Temple-South.
Sixth annual Casino Night fundraiser of the Rotary Club of Temple-South.

The chips were high for many players during the sixth annual Casino Night fundraiser of the Rotary Club of Temple-South (US) at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center.
The goal for Saturday night’s version of a Las Vegas-style casino was $40,000, said Beverly Luedke, club president.
“This is our major fundraiser,” she said. “This is where we make the money that our club puts back into the community.”
The response for the glitzy event was close to a 275-seat sellout, she said. The evening began with a cocktail hour that offered drinks reminiscent of the Frank Sinatra-era Rat Pack, said Karen Hawley, casino chairman. In the dimly lit lounge, Jane Maddox of Austin did a haunting imitation of Marilyn Monroe, singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Witchcraft” and other numbers.
“I feel like her performance gave a great addition to the ambience of the night,” said Suzanne Ward of Bruceville-Eddy. After the singing, some of the patrons eased out to sample the spread of hors d’oeuvres and to view about 40 items in the silent auction. It listed everything from a one-week stay in Hawaii to golf for four at the Wildflower Country Club. At 7 pm Eddy Lange auctioned off five items, including a home-cooked steak dinner for 25 and tickets to the Texas vs. West Virginia football game.
When the casino opened at 7.30 pm, people played slot machines, blackjack, roulette, Texas Hold’em poker and craps. Afterward, they converted their chips to tickets for various drawings. The big prize was a smart TV, Hawley said.
Luedke said 10 per cent of the night’s proceeds would go to the Ralph Wilson Youth Club. All the good that Rotary does comes out of the Rotary Foundation, she said, which is celebrating 100 years of existence.
“Like we fought polio for 60 years,” she said. “Now there’s only 16 cases in the world — thanks to Rotary and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They’ve put thousands of millions of dollars into eradicating polio.”
“We build water wells all over the world,” she said. “We feed the hungry throughout the world.”
This year the Temple-South club gave $50,000 in scholarships, she said. Others who benefit from Rotary are the Temple Literacy Council and Family Promise, which helps to house the homeless. Rotary also supports Feed My Sheep, which feeds the homeless in Temple, and the Un-Included Club, which supports latch-key children after school.

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