The 20th annual Area Youth Benefit Fund Dinner-Auction and Golf Tournament, sponsored through Farmers' Electric Cooperative, was recorded as another success, as nearly $40,000 was raised for families in need to help pay their children's medical bills.

The dinner-auction was held at the Chillicothe Elks Lodge Sunday evening, and included a reception, a number of silent auctions, and a live auction called by Col. Mike Miller.

A wide variety of items were sold in the silent auctions, including an acoustic guitar signed by country favorites Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan; a rookie Yogi Berra baseball card, a rookie Ron Guidry baseball card, and a copy of "Driving Mr. Yogi" signed by both Berra and Guidry; a Kansas City Royals Suite; game tickets for both the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals; limited edition art prints; and more.

The big ticket item of the evening was $2,000 raised by a pool of 10 individuals donating $100 apiece, along with a $1,000 match by BTC Bank, to have the opportunity to shave the head of Steve Shoot, who retired earlier this year as member service manager of Farmers Electric Cooperative. The shaving was expected to take place this afternoon.

Other top auction items were the Royals suite, selling for the high bid of $1,500, and a week's stay at a Florida condo, selling for $1,200. The Royals suite package was for the Sept. 4 Kansas City Royals-Texas Rangers game, and included five parking passes next to the stadium, 20 tickets, and food and beverage, donated by N.W. Electric Power Cooperative. The condo was for a seven-day stay on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Fla., donated by Woody's Outdoor Power Equipment and Body Shop, Fritz and Julie Kline.

Another highlight of the evening was the drawing for $2,500, which was won by Tony Clark.

Funds raised through the dinner, auction and golf tournament totalled $39,465, according to Chasity Anderson, FEC communications specialist. Sunday's activities totaled $19,640, and fund-raising continued today (Monday) at the Green Hills Golf Course, where 58 three-member teams were participating in a golf tournament. For the 14th consecutive year, Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Chillicothe co-sponsored the golf tournament. Play began at 7:30 a.m., and again at 1:30 p.m.

The total dollar amount raised for the Area Youth Benefit Fund also includes $6,000 generated by 1,110 FEC members volunteering to participate in Operation Roundup, which allows members to "round up" their monthly bills to the nearest dollar. That remaining amount is, in turn, placed in the AYBF account.

Anderson said she was pleased with the dollar amount raised this year.

"It was really fantastic to see the great turnout," she said of the dinner and auction. "We appreciate the support we get every year from the community. We couldn't do it without them."

In 1993, Farmers' Electric established the AYBF for the purpose of providing financial assistance toward the payment of medical bills for children 18 years of age and younger.

The fund is designed to assist families with children who have been ill or injured, in situations in which the parents do not have enough money or health insurance to cover the child's medical costs. To date, the AYBF has donated $530,549.27 to 488 families. The fund primarily operates in the counties of Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Linn, Livingston and Ray.

A family who receives electricity from Farmers' Electric Cooperative, but resides in a county not listed above, also qualifies for AYBF assistance. A family that resides in the counties listed above does not have to be a member of the cooperative to receive financial assistance.