Check brings Shelter closer to fundraising goal

Written by Bill Rautenstrauch, The Observer May 09, 2012 02:02 pm

Terry Hughes, owner of Farmers Insurance and the president of the Blue Mountain chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, talks about NAIFA and its mission Tuesday to MaryEllen LaBerge and Teresa Crouser of Shelter from the Storm. Hughes presented a check for $1,000 in     support of Shelter’s 3 Rivers Race. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer
Terry Hughes, owner of Farmers Insurance and the president of the Blue Mountain chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, talks about NAIFA and its mission Tuesday to MaryEllen LaBerge and Teresa Crouser of Shelter from the Storm. Hughes presented a check for $1,000 in support of Shelter’s 3 Rivers Race. BILL RAUTENSTRAUCH / The Observer

A key Shelter from the Storm fundraiser got a big boost this week from the Blue Mountain chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

With the 3 Rivers Race coming up June 2, Terry Hughes, NAIFA chapter president and owner of Farmer’s insurance in La Grande, handed over a $1,000 check to Shelter from the Storm in support of the event.

Race organizer MaryEllen LeBerge said the gift is important to the success to this year’s race, which will benefit Shelter From the Storm’s La Grande 14-bed shelter house.

“It’s a huge boost to our goal. We’re 60 percent there,” LaBerge said. She said that last year’s 3 Rivers event raised $16,000, and organizers are looking to hit $18,000 this year.

Founded in 1890 as the National Association of Life Underwriters, NAIFA is one of the nation’s oldest and largest associations representing the interests of insurance professionals. The Blue Mountain chapter includes member companies from Umatilla, Union, Baker and Wallowa Counties

The chapter supports various community projects and programs, and last year gave $1,000 to the Union County Court Appointed Special Advocates. Hughes said he is happy to see another contribution made to a Union County organization.

“NAIFA donated $25,000 to $30,000 a year in the four counties, and it’s nice to see some of that directed this side of the mountain. We think this is a worthy cause,” he said.

Shelter from the Storm is Union County’s domestic violence crisis intervention service, offering advocacy, education and emergency help to those who suffer from domestic violence. The organization depends mainly on grants, donations and money from fundraisers like the 3 Rivers Race. 

“Our fundraisers are really important,” said Executive Director Teresa Crouser.

In addition to NAIFA, local businesses have been kind to the event. Agri-Star is a Diamond contributor, having given more than $1,500. Gold level sponsors — those giving $500 — include Mountain Valley Therapy, Massage for Every Body, Grande Ronde Hospital, Super Talk Radio, Legacy Ford Lincoln, Aramak, the Mountain Works and KCMB. A host of other local companies have contributed at the Silver ($250) level.

This year’s 3 Rivers Race starts and finishes at Pioneer Park in La Grande. Events include a 70-mile or 100-mile bike ride, a half-marathon for runners, and 10K and 5K walk/runs.

Registration is free, but the Shelter asks individuals to raise a minimum $50 in pledges. The participants are encouraged to collect as many pledges as possible.

Individuals, families and teams can participate in the 3 Rivers Race, and Laberge said registration is ongoing. Entry flyers can be obtained from The Mountain Works bike shop , 1307 Adams Ave., the Shelter from the Storm Office, or at the Website www.3riversrace.com.

Shelter from the Storm provides domestic violence and sexual assault services including crisis intervention, 24 hour emergency hotlines, legal advocacy and emergency shelter, as well as counseling and support groups for teens and families. 

According to LaBerge, the 3 Rivers Race is more than a fundraiser.

“It’s also an event to raise awareness about domestic violence,” she said.