Former Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman with Johnny Casali, a popular cannabis grower in Southern Humboldt, both working to raise money for the hospital. [Photos from the phone of Kym Kemp]
Saturday, November 11, an afternoon filled with laughter, wine, delicious hors d’oeuvres flowed into an evening with an auctioneer with impeccable comedic timing and a gift for getting the crowd excited about supporting a good cause. The Southern Humboldt Health Foundation hosted a spectacular fundraiser at the picturesque Benbow Inn, located just south of Garberville. The event not only brought the community together but also raised a staggering $121,445 for the construction of the much-anticipated Southern Humboldt Hospital.The festivities kicked off at 2 p.m. when the Benbow Inn opened its doors to a crowd of supporters. Guests were treated to an afternoon and evening of wine tasting, tantalizing hors d’oeuvres, and an auction that had everyone reaching for their wallets. Auctioneer extraordinaire former Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman took the stage and ensured that the generosity of the attendees flowed as smoothly as the finest vintage wine.
Pat Neighbors, CEO of Vocality Community Credit Union, took on the role of master of ceremonies for the live auction. Her quick calculations and infectious enthusiasm kept the crowd engaged and the funds rolling in. “Chelsea [Brown], the Foundation auction committee (board members), and crew set us up for success,” Neighbors told us. “Our hosts, John and Teresa Porter, made all the great connections with the wineries as always and provided us with that beautiful venue for the day.”
She went on to say, “We couldn’t have asked for a better weather afternoon at the Benbow Historic Inn for the event. The food from all of our local caterers was excellent, the wine was flowing, and the guests gave from the heart—success! It was a big group effort, and I got the fun of working with Tom Allman again this year. He’s a terrific auctioneer and a real friend to our community.”
But it wasn’t just wine, laughter, and spirited bidding that filled the air at Benbow Inn. The architect team from Ratcliff, who are responsible for designing the new hospital and clinic for SoHum Health, were on hand to showcase the latest plans and answer any questions from the curious and eager supporters. The new hospital and clinic are set to bring modern healthcare to Southern Humboldt, and those at the event’s commitment to the cause was evident.
Supervisor Michelle Bushnell speaking at the event is a big supporter of the new hospital. In the background, Pat Neighbors, CEO of Vocality Community Credit Union consults with Tom Allman. (Also, the man with the blue shirt had the coolest mask that he made himself!)
The SoHum Health Foundation’s fundraiser was a true testament to the power of community support and the determination to bring essential healthcare services to the region. With a whopping $121,445 raised, the dream of a Southern Humboldt Hospital is one step closer to becoming a reality.
As we toast to this successful fundraiser at Benbow Inn, we extend our gratitude to everyone who contributed, bid, and made this event possible. Together, the community is building a healthier and brighter future for Southern Humboldt—one auction paddle raise at a time!
Please note: This reporter’s husband is a member of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District’s Governing Board.