Southwest Miracles Gears Up For Banquet Fundraiser


If you want a chance to donate to a good cause, have a good time, enjoy a fabulous meal and more - Mark your calendars for this Saturday, October 21.

Southwest Miracles opened their branch in Ulysses in April of this year.

"This is our only fundraiser for the year," said Terry Tanking, Chairperson for the organization.

What is the money for that is raised?

"We raise money for medical needs of our community -  to help people with medical issues," Tanking explained.

Some of the items Southwest Miracles assists with include wheelchairs, walkers,. shower chairs, and gift cards for gas to get to out of town appointments.

Southwest Miracles began ticket sales for the upcoming event October 14, when 19 of their volunteers were on hand at the local Sonic in Ulysses during "Happy Hour."

"We paid for drinks for more than 100 people," Tanking said. "And we were selling tickets for the banquet."

The upcoming dinner is not a new concept for the group, they have been hosting one in nearby Liberal in February each year for the past 15 years. Choosing October for Ulysses is a "trial and error" situation as the group works to schedule the event around other activities in Grant County.

"We don't want to look at having it the same time as other activities are planned," Tanking said.

Since coming to Ulysses, the organization has helped around 10 families with medical needs; however, there have been more. Through the Liberal branch, they have assisted around 30  or more in the past two years. It is because of the need they saw in Grant County, that they decided to branch out with a location here of its own.

After the Liberal location was started, it didn't take long for the original group to expand their assistance area, something that will also be done here.

"We got a lot of calls from places within 60 miles," Tanking said. "That is what gave us the idea - a lot of small communities surrounding (where they are based) are considered local to us."

There are some things that, so far, have been out of the organization's reach.

"The bigger items like playground equipment for disabled children - we just don't have the budget for that," said Tanking's wife, Kim. "We would love to be able to provide that for places like the schools."

Another item that has been out of reach is wheelchair ramps, which are not only expensive Tanking said, but also require special permits and things.

"All of that hinders us in being able to provide those," he said. "And of course we could always use more volunteers."

The dinner Saturday will be worth the ticket price.

"It is an amazing meal for $25," Tanking said. "We are going to have the best steak you've had in a long time, along with potatoes, green beans, salad, dessert, water and tea. It is also BYOB - but only beer and if you bring that they have to be in cans - no glass containers are allowed."

The event is only for those 21 and older due to the ability to bring alcohol; however, there will be some under 21 there for a short time.

"We've got some volunteers from a couple of organizations that will be there," Tanking said. "SAD from the high school is going to come and help us out to get some of their community service hours and a local wrestling club will be coming to help for a couple of hours and then they will leave."

There will be three to four live auction items and around 20 silent auction items at the event.

"We have some pretty exciting and cool items for the auctions," Tanking said. "But, I don't want to give it away what we are going to have. They were donated by local businesses and individuals."

There will be dancing following the auction to live entertainment provided by Oland Tucker from Colorado.

Emcee for the evening will be Southwest Miracles volunteer and KSCB radio personality Joe Denoyer from Liberal. Denoyer will also serve as auctioneer.

"We tried to get a local auctioneer, but they were all busy during that time," Tanking said. "We appreciate Joe volunteering to help us out. We also have some others from our Liberal branch who have volunteered to come over and help."

Tanking is optimistic that Ulysses' event will grow like Liberal's has done.

"We had 460 go through the event in Liberal last year because of the meal and the entertainment we had," he said.

His wife, Kim, agrees.

"I think people at first don't know what to expect," she said. "But, once they come they will be wanting to get their tickets."

Southwest Miracles gives 100 percent back to the community of the money they raise. And if any club or organization would like to know more about what they do and who they are, Tanking said they are willing to come and talk to them.

"We just talked to a sorority in Ulysses," he said.

The event Saturday will be from 5:30 p.m., until midnight, at Grant County Civic Center. When a ticket is purchased, you will receive a wristband which you must wear in order to get in to the event.

Their ultimate goal through the organization is simple - to help.

"We want to try and help as many people as we can," Tanking said, adding that "all" of the stories from people who they have helped thus far are "touching".

"We have helped a couple of babies that were only four weeks old," he said. "We can't continue to do this though, without the support of the community. People coming out and supporting us keep us going."

Tanking is proud of the reception they have gotten in the Liberal and surrounding areas.

"They have wrapped their arms around us," he said. "Miracles happen when a community cares. It's neighbors helping neighbors."

Thus far, approximately 100 tickets have already been sold. Businesses can also purchase a table with six chairs for $600 or eight chairs for $800. They can advertise their businesses on the sponsored tables.

If you haven't yet purchased a ticket, you can call 620-952-3563, 620-952-1017, and leave a message stating you need tickets. Interested attendees can also check on Southwest Miracles' Facebook page or contact any Southwest Miracles committee member.


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