The Sumner High School ASB hosted its seventh annual Benefit Night Talent Show and raised more than $25,000 last month for a city resident.
The event, held Feb. 21-22, benefited Dean Inglin, who was diagnosed last June with a severe form of brain cancer.
“We first found out (about the fundraiser) in January, and we were completely surprised,” said Kerri Inglin, Dean’s wife. “We were very humbled and immediately very appreciative.”
The event was alive with performances from students and community members. As a part of the benefit, a dinner and silent auction Feb. 20 also supported the cause. All proceeds go to the selected beneficiary who lives in the community.
“The first night was very humbling and emotional,” Kerri Inglin said. “Seeing everyone there in support of Dean and our family, it was just cool.”
Mikayla Harmon and Nicole Cochran, both seniors at Sumner High School, were the activity coordinators for the benefit night.
“It was heartwarming to see how many people came to support Dean,” Harmon said. “It felt good to be a part of something that big.”
John Norlin, a leadership teacher and ASB adviser at Sumner High, started the event seven years ago after he was influenced by a similar event that started at his high school in 1997.
“It is an opportunity to serve somebody in your community that is in need,” Norlin said. “It builds community at the highest level.”
While Norlin is the founder, the students are in charge of the event.
“When you give students the opportunity to serve and to do the right thing, they will grasp that,” Norlin said.
There were more than 40 acts that auditioned for the talent show, and they ranged from students to community members from all the schools in the district, Harmon said. There were 25 acts both nights.
“We were a very small part of this,” Cochran said.
“We just brought all the help together and made it work,” Harmon added.
The ASB and leadership class sent the nomination forms to everyone in the district in December. Once students came back from winter break, the class and Norlin read each nominated individual’s story.
“We based our choice on need and who has made the biggest difference in our community, so we would want to give back to them,” Cochran said. “Dean was the perfect candidate.”
With no cure available, “family and friends are looking to improve his quality of life for as long as possible,” a news release from the school district stated.
“I was so nervous when I first met Dean,” Harmon said. “I was shaking.”
Harmon and Norlin both met Inglin at the Sumner Starbucks to discuss their story and the benefit night.
“Then he comes in with his wife, Kerri,” Harmon said. “It took about five minutes for them to make it over to us. Everyone was saying hello.”
The talent show and benefit dinner and auction raised more than $17,000. But other contributors made the event more special.
Inglin was a part of the Sumner Rotary Club for more than 15 years, and the club paid for the catering for the benefit dinner.
“Because of them, every cent of the $20 for the meal went to Dean,” Harmon said.
They raised a total of $25,320.
Norlin said it was their most successful year by far, but it wouldn’t have been possible without past success.
“We feel really loved and supported by this Sumner community,” Kerri Inglin said. “I’m not sure where we would be if we didn’t have that.”
When the Sumner High School leadership class and ASB members discussed nominees to benefit from the event, Dean Inglin was on the top of the list.
“He received the most nominations,” said Mikayla Harmon of the leadership class.
Inglin and his wife, Kerri, are active members in the community. They have two sons who attend Sumner schools.
Dean was a financial planner in Sumner and has served in the Rotary Club for more than 15 years.
“Inglin loves to fish and play golf, and truly loves Seattle Sports!” read a statement in the Benefit Night program.
Inglin’s father-in-law was a former Sumner High School state-championship football coach and athletic director, said Ann Cook, communications director for the Sumner School District. Kerri also graduated from Sumner High.
“It is cool to see the influence he has in our community,” Harmon said.
Inglin has brain cancer, which has caused him to lose function on the right side of his body. It makes it difficult for him to work and do simple tasks, the Benefit Night program said. The money raised from the benefit night will go toward medical bills and accommodations for the family.
Samantha Shockley is a freelance reporter for the Herald.