Fundraiser honors couple

November 20, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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Kathleen Wilwohl deposits a ticket for an item in the Rotary's ShelterBox fundraiser raffle Friday with her daughter, Ashlee Wilwohl.

CONNOQUENESSING TWP — The Zelienople Rotary Club hosted a Shine for ShelterBox fundraiser dinner at The Stables in Connoquenessing Township Friday night in honor of two late members who were passionate about the cause.

ShelterBox is a nonprofit international disaster relief organization that provides tents, hygiene materials, building tools and other supplies to help families find shelter and rebuild their lives after a catastrophic event. The organization has partnered with Rotary clubs nationwide since 2012. Kathleen Corcoran, event chairwoman, said the dinner was held in memory of Rotarians Tom and Marie Grant, ShelterBox ambassadors who died in 2020.

“They were some of the best known Rotarians,” Corcoran said. “They were so passionate about ShelterBox, and that passion flowed to our club.”

The Grants' service and dedication to ShelterBox inspired Rotarians Melanie and David Sturrock and John Marshall to be ambassadors.

“We met the Grants at a festival,” Melanie Sturrock said. “They were iconic with ShelterBox; everybody knew them. We wanted to help take the torch for them and continue that legacy. We want to be just as passionate.”

“We're passionate about it because of the families,” David Sturrock said. “(ShelterBox) can help them during the worst times of their life.”

On display at the event were different tools and kits that are provided to people in crisis from donations to ShelterBox. Outside the Stables facility was a large tent display with shovels, pick axes, tarps, school supplies and more, along with explanations on how they're useful in the field.

Representatives from more than 10 local Rotary clubs were present at the event. According to Corcoran, the food by

A tent with different tools and kits that are provided to people in crisis was on display at the Rotary ShelterBox fundraiser on Friday.

John Marshall Catering, raffle prizes and venue were all donated to the cause. When the event began at 6 p.m. the Rotary had already exceeded its goal of $10,000 for ShelterBox.

“It's great to see the turnout we've had,” David Sturrock said. “It's a wonderful thing thinking of all the families we can help.”

Following dinner was a dessert auction, where cakes by Tin Man Sweets were bid on, with all proceeds going to ShelterBox. Door prizes were also handed out to attendees who could answer questions about the organization. The HZ (Harmony-Zelienople) Jazz Band provided music throughout the evening.

Representatives from ShelterBox USA were present at the event as well. Keynote speaker Bill Tobin, Rotary relations manager at ShelterBox, shared stories of four families who were directly affected by the work ShelterBox does in Haiti, Ethiopia, Syria and Honduras.

“(He) has real stories of people helped by ShelterBox. It's enlightening. It makes it real,” Corcoran said of Tobin.

Tobin said it was encouraging to see so many people come to these events for the cause.

“It means people care about other people — we need more of that,” Tobin said. “They're helping them on their worst day possible, in catastrophe and conflict. Without knowing (them), these Rotary clubs have stepped up to help.”

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Molly Miller

Molly Miller