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Thomas Jefferson helps hospice raise funds

NIK DIRGA, Sierra Sun Editor

There’s been a lot of talk about Al Gore and George W. Bush over the past few weeks, but last Friday, one of America’s greatest presidents ever came back to life to help a local charity.

Despite having been deceased for nearly 200 years, the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was the guest speaker at Friends of the Tahoe Forest Hospice’s gala fund-raiser Friday, Nov. 3 at Northstar-at-Tahoe.

Jefferson, better known as Reno-based scholar and historical reenactor Clay Jenkinson, spoke at the fund-raiser for the hospice’s plans to open a thrift shop in the Truckee area.

The fund-raiser was an enormous success, said Joe Ferrerra, director of community relations for Tahoe Forest Hospital.

“Our goal was to raise $10,000,” said Ferrerra. “We exceeded that goal by more than $5,000.”

More than 300 people attended the gala, he added. The event featured wine and cheese donated by several local businesses.

Friends of Hospice organized the event in an attempt to get enough seed money to start a thrift shop so that the success of the hospice program can continue well into the future.

The idea is to recycle clothing to ensure a steady cycle of funding and support for hospice in the Truckee-Tahoe area.

“Every hospice in every community we’ve seen has a thrift center,” Ferrerra said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to serve a lot of people.”

With the success of the fund-raiser, Ferrerra said he hopes a store can be opened soon. Still, the search for an affordable location remains.

“We are fast and furiously looking for a location,” said Ferrerra. “We have not found that landlord who has said, ‘I will help.'”

Once a location is found, Ferrerra said a thrift shop would depend on donations.

“I personally have boxes and boxes of nice stuff that I’m ready to donate to it, and I think a lot of people do,” he said. “In Truckee we have a lot of people in the community who are willing to help.”

The Tahoe Forest Hospice provides medical, spiritual, emotional and bereavement support for terminally ill patients and their families in the area. This includes Incline Village, Tahoe City, Truckee, Floriston, Verdi, Calpine, Graegle, Sierraville, Loyalton, Soda Springs and Emigrant Gap.

The Hospice is funded by individual contributions and memorial gifts, grants, fund-raising events and insurance reimbursements when available.

The evening’s entertainment by Jenkinson, who hosts KUNR Public Radio’s popular “Thomas Jefferson Hour,” added to the evening’s success, said Ferrerra.

“That presentation was far beyond anything we thought this could be,” he said. “He makes everyone get into history.”

In his Jefferson persona, Jenkinson discussed modern ethics and government as they relate to the views of the author of the Declaration of Independence. He also took aim at current presidential candidates, saying that one who actively aspires to political office is more often interested in power than in creating good government.

Cabona’s and Jackass Ridge and their staff sponsored Jenkinson’s performance. The raffle and silent auction included original art by local artists Audrey Dygert, Keoki Flagg, Pam Krone, Tricia Perbetsky and Hone T. Ravise.

“Cabona’s made this event skyrocket because of their early commitment and contribution,” said Ferrerra. “The whole group that put this together is Friends of Hospice, a wonderful group of ladies.”


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