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Hello all! Those of you that follow CHARITYSMITH on Facebook may already know this but I recently traveled to Atascadero, CA on the central coast (about 6 hours from our office) to attend the 5th Annual Christopher Meadows Memorial Wine Tasting & Silent Auction on May 9th. Those of you that are not following us on Facebook – please do (www.facebook.com/charitysmithfunds) There is a LOT of good information being shared both here and on our Facebook page!

Driving from our office in Truckee (near the Nevada border) to the coast was an absolutely beautiful drive and I enjoyed the beautiful coastal scenery. I am thankful that one of our most active funds is within a day’s drive!

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I would like to give you all a little bit of background on Christopher’s Memorial Fund. Christopher Meadows was 24 year-old EMT in San Luis Obispo who was tragically killed in a training accident five years ago this past Saturday (May 24th, 2009). After his passing his Mom, Dad, and two sisters decided to honor his memory and legacy of helping others by starting a memorial fund with CHARITYSMITH. They began fundraising almost immediately and hosted the first annual Wine Tasting & Silent Auction in Christopher’s name to raise scholarship funds for aspiring EMTs. Now in it’s fifth year of operation, Christopher’s fund has provided scholarships to eleven EMTs enabling them to complete school and training. Some of the recipients of the scholarship are pictured below at this year’s event.

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Back in March I approached both our President (Rachel Rohlen) and Founder (Dr. Brooks Rohlen) with my idea to travel to Atascadero to attend the event and see what great work is being done in Christopher’s name. They both agreed wholeheartedly that this would be a worthwhile trip. I intend to use my experience at the event to help other fund administrators in many ways including assistance developing successful fundraising events!

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The day of the event (May 9th) was beautiful and I enjoyed seeing what great items were up for auction as well as tasting some delicious local wines! The room was full of tables containing these donated items and each table also had a quote, memory, or story about Chris along with photos of him. I enjoyed reading these stories and seeing the photos. This really drove the point home why we were all gathered at the Pavilion on the Lake in Atascadero that sunny Saturday.

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So many items were donated to raise money for Chris’ fund including –

– Photos and paintings by local artists

– Handcrafted items by friends and family

– Tickets to events such as Giants games

–  GoPro Hero 3 camera

– Gift certificates to many local restaurants

– Admission for two to area hot springs

– Beach items (umbrella, chair, etc.)

– Gas cards

– and of course many, many bottles of local wines

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After the bidding ended fund administrator and CHARITYSMITH’s newest Board of Trustees member Tim Meadows spoke and introduced a few of the scholarship recipients from the past five years of awarding the Meadows Scholarship. Then Cal Poly’s acapella group “Take it SLO” entertained the crowd with a great performance! One thing I noticed about the fundraiser was the streamlined check-in process. Attendees who registered in advance (most did) were checked in at the front and then given a bidding number for the silent auction and a wine glass with Chris’ memorial fund logo and the Paramedic logo on it. The friends and family of Christopher Meadows have done a great job tweaking and organizing this event over the last five years. This memorial fund is a great example of how a fund can live on and continue to grow years after it’s inception. The support for this fund has not tapered off at all it has done the opposite and grown each year! Be sure to check out Christopher’s Memorial Fund page for more information on how they keep Chris’ love alive!

Thank you for reading!

Ashley Galleher

Executive Director

[email protected]