Ed Pullen doesn’t typically consider himself a lucky person.
But he certainly was last week.
Pullen won the Puyallup-South Hill Rotary Gold and Silver Reverse Raffle on Feb. 22. His winnings: $9,000.
He’s still not sure what he wants to use it on —maybe traveling.
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“I was surprised, of course,” he said. “I’m not usually this lucky.”
Pullen has attended the annual Puyallup-South Hill Rotary Gold and Silver Raffle for the past three years, but couldn’t make it to the fourth annual event.
But he wanted to support the group, which he’s been a member of for 30 years.
It’s basically to help people who need a hand up. It’s all about doing good for the community.
Bob Kucera, Puyallup-South Hill Rotarian
After all, the proceeds collected by Rotary would in turn benefit local causes, including transitional housing for homeless families and scholarships for local students.
“It’s basically to help people who need a hand up,” Rotarian Bob Kucera said. “It’s all about doing good for the community.”
Puyallup-South Hill Rotary has been donating to Helping Hand House, an organization that provides emergency shelter and housing solutions to families facing homelessness, since 1991. The organization receives about $100,000 in value each year from Rotary for its two duplexes, which are used for families, said Helping Hand House chief executive officer Kevin Bates. Bates estimates Rotary has housed about 310 homeless families since 1991.
310 families housed with Helping Hand House thanks to Puyallup-South Hill Rotary donations
Rotary is the “single-largest contributor” to Helping Hand House, Bates added. “They’re essential to our future.”
By the end of the night, Puyallup-South Hill Rotary public relations chairman Rick Hansen estimated about $20,000 was collected in donations, with the club selling more than 500 tickets at $50 a piece.
“Each year it gets more exciting,” Hansen said at the event.
$20,000 collected at the reverse raffle on Feb. 22
Hansen came up with the idea of a reverse raffle four years ago after worries that the group would lose one of its biggest fundraisers of the year: their parking lot at the Washington State Fair.
Hansen, former vice president of the Professional Shipwreck Explorer Association (ProSEA), was inspired by treasures found at sea.
“I wanted to do something around gold and silver,” he said.
That’s why every year, anyone who purchases tickets at the raffle has the chance to win $9,000 in gold and silver — bullion — or can take a $9,000 check.
Last year, a group of three winners wanted to split the winnings with $3,000 each. One of those winners was Gary Larson, owner of South Hill Veterinary Hospital and a Rotarian since 2005. Larson said he loves attending the event every year, especially since it benefits so many causes.
“It gets people together,” he said. “Rotary does so much for the community.”
The fundraiser also supports Rotary Clubs internationally.
“It feels good (to) have an impact worldwide, and (to) also have a great group of friends I can sit down and have lunch with,” Pullen said.