Lyle auction: Raising funds for cancer – and building community
Published 10:30 am Friday, January 13, 2017
Move ‘em out, bring ‘em in
At the start of this week, the city maintenance garage in Lyle, in short, didn’t look like much.
But that was before some town volunteers got busy and started emptying the 40 by 80 square foot space.
People like City Councilman Darwin Small; Paul Halbach and Bryce Haugland, who work for Agri-Steel in Lyle; and city employee Wayne Frank.
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Despite a snow storm outside bothering citizens, these guys moved out city loaders, mowers, tools and all the other what-not city garages need.
They were stored or parked at various locations around town.
Then out came the brooms. scrubbers and a power washer to clean the space, all in preparation for the Lyle Area Cancer Auction tonight and Saturday.
The city garage is partly the reason the fund balances have grown each year. When you have more space, you have more people — and more bidders and donors.
“It’ll take overnight to dry, then we’ll start moving in the tables, and the chairs, the stage,” said Small.
Agri-Steel owner Jeff Helle offers up his employees each year to provide the garage clean-up and other preparation work for the auction.
“Well, it’s our slower time of the year,” he said. “So we send ‘em over.”
And that is the way of a small town when you are fighting a big enemy.
In Lyle, the auction is a big deal — and it’s become a bigger deal every year since its start in 1980. Since that time, $2.4 million has been raised; hopes are that this year’s contributions will push that number to over $2.5 million. Last year’s auction raised $227,185.
These guys would be the first to tell you that any help they provide is just part of hundreds of hands that make the auction successful each year in this small town of about 550. Residents make sure the word gets out, that there is plenty of food available, that auction items are collected and all the other small details that come with the event are handled.
Tables and chairs come from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Lyle School; food is provided by, well, everyone. Jerry Sampson, said Haugland, spends two days hooking up sound equipment. There are several other events held during the year to augment funds, all run by volunteers, from the annual pool tournament in Carpenter, Iowa, to other fundraisers such as Spin for a Cure, Oktoberfest, the Halfway to January Cancer Bash, Cruise for a Cure, Quilting for a Cure, Crop for a Cure, Farmboy Barbecue, and Cans for Cancer. And that is not all of them.
But the Lyle Area Cancer Auction is the granddaddy of all the events.
“People come from all over,” said Haugland, pride in his voice. “Well, the auctioneer? Where is he from? Like Alabama? People hear about it and then they come to see what it’s all about; some always come in and volunteer, too.”
Frank said some changes were made to the garage once it was suggested it should be used for the auction. Shelving was built to provide storage for signs and other smaller equipment runs almost the length of the building — a place to put things when the garage needs to be cleaned out for the auction. Bathrooms were installed and a permanent walkway between the American Legion and the garage was created so people could enjoy food and drink at the Legion, then walk over to the auction.
As the men began their cleaning of the broad, cement floor, they were asked if they were excited about the auction possibly raising enough to reach $2.5 million.
Yes, but, said Small. “What would really get us excited is a cure for cancer.”
2016 Lyle Area Cancer Auction
The 38th annual Lyle Area Cancer Auction returns to the Lyle American Legion and the adjoining Lyle maintenance building on Friday and Saturday. This year’s auction starts at 6 p.m. Friday and will continue until around midnight or 1 a.m. The auction resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs until the last item sells, typically between 1 and 2 a.m. Sunday morning.