Big crowd attends the 22nd Butler Benefit Auction
EL DORADO – Nearly 350 guests attended Butler Community College Foundation’s 22nd Butler Benefit Auction. The evening’s theme, “Butleropoly,” lent a fun and festive air to the annual fundraising event.
Betsy and Scott Redler served as honorary chairs for the event. Scott, COO and co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, has had continued involvement with the culinary arts and hospitality management programs for nearly 25 years. In 2017, the Redlers established an endowed scholarship for a student in those academic programs.
“We were fortunate to have people support us along our journey toward our dream of restaurant ownership,” Betsy and Scott said in their message to attendees. “Now it’s our turn to help someone else achieve their dreams – that is the best reward for us.”
An extra special feature this year highlighted Butler’s renowned culinary arts and hospitality management programs, led by instructors Chef John Michael and Alexis Michael. Guests visited “properties” based on the Monopoly theme to taste hors d’oeuvres prepared and served by culinary arts’ Garde Manger classes. Each table had a theme: Boardwalk, Kentucky Avenue, Mediterranean Avenue, Oriental Avenue, and Pacific Avenue. Table displays and help with service was provided by hospitality management’s Event Planning classes.
“Interaction with our students means the donors are able to truly see the impact of their gifts,” said Mary Moon, executive director of community advancement and Butler Benefit Auction event director. “Providing a platform for the students to showcase their talent is very rewarding.”
Total funds raised topped out at $238,000. The evening featured silent, super silent, and live auctions, a dice roll game for drawing prizes, and a golden ticket drawing. With an ending bid of $8,000, the highest-selling item of the night was a live auction package of Kansas City Chiefs tickets that included Founder’s Club entry tickets and a gold parking pass for Arrowhead Stadium. The item was donated to the auction by Butler alumna Angela Hurt (’97), CEO of Veracity Consulting in Kansas City.
The second-highest selling item was an ‘Extraordinary Culinary Arts Dinner.’ The dinner, for 10 guests and hosted by the Redlers, will feature an array of small plates crafted by culinary students and paired with wines from the Redlers’ collection. The dinner sold for $7,500.
Laura Schneider, a fourth semester nursing student from Wichita, spoke to the attendees saying she never dreamed she would be going back to school as a non-traditional student working on a second career. Schneider will graduate from the nursing program in May and work in the cardiothoracic ICU at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.
Along with the culinary arts and hospitality management students, one dozen livestock judging students assisted throughout the event – from selling drawing tickets to working during the live auction. Theatre students assisted Mittlestadt Props & Design, owned by Butler alumnus Tom Mittlestadt, with décor and set up. The Noteables women’s barbershop quartet sang as guests arrived and assisted with the dice roll game. The Smorgaschords men’s barbershop quartet also sang and two members, Scott Slack and Sam Rinkenbaugh, emceed for the evening.
“Growing up in EduCare from the time I was a toddler until I was in kindergarten was a big part of why I came to Butler,” said Rinkenbaugh, son of Bill Rinkenbaugh, vice president of student services. “As a freshman my experience has only affected me positively.”
Slack, a fire science student, lives in the fire house in El Dorado as part of the hands-on learning experience that program provides.
“With your help I was given the opportunity to become a part-time firefighter for the city of El Dorado,” Slack said. “I cannot thank you enough for your generosity and passion and for helping students grow and obtain a better education.”
Top sponsors for the evening were: HollyFrontier, Bank of America, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, BG Products, Commerce Bank, IMA, Professional Engineering Consultants, and BKD.