News Release, Calvert Hospice
The Irelands are a family of farmers, raising hogs for several generations. Sons TJ, age 16, and Colby, age 14, are active in 4-H and show their animals at the Calvert County Fair each year. In August of this year, TJ told his parents that he was interested in donating the proceeds from one of his 4-H market hogs to a non-profit. After some discussion, it was decided that Calvert Hospice would be their charity of choice as they had experience with family members in hospice care. The boys’ father, Todd Ireland, added, “Calvert Hospice nurses have one of the toughest jobs we know of.”
Todd Ireland contacted Claire Piason, the Director of Development at Calvert Hospice, and arranged a meeting with the boys. When the boys presented their idea, Claire was very enthusiastic. “Not only is this the most unique idea anyone has come up with in order to raise money for us, the fact that these young men would be so generous and would choose Calvert Hospice as the recipient means so much to us. We are so impressed with TJ and Colby and their huge hearts”, said Piason.
Harry the Hospice Hog weighed in on May 18th at 38 pounds and by September 25th, his official weight was 279 pounds. Once Harry made it to the fair, he had a banner posted over his stall advertising “Take Me Home with You” and that all proceeds from the auction would be donated to Calvert Hospice. Harry the Hospice Hog was a popular topic of conversation amongst fair goers and his stall was a popular hangout for the 4-H youth as well.
The auction was held on Saturday, September 28th at 6:00 p.m. Throughout the auction JD Cox, the auctioneer, teased the audience that there would be a very special auction at the end of the block. Approximately 40 4-H project animals went up for bid during the livestock auction prior to Harry the Hospice Hog’s grand entrance into the show ring.
When the bidders started bidding on Harry it was fast and furious. The dollar amounts climbed quickly. It seemed as if everyone there was bidding on Harry. The first winning bidder was Rodney Gertz of Quality Built Homes, who opted to donate Harry back to be auctioned again. The next round of bidding climbed rapidly with the Wise family of Redgate Farm Enterprises as the winning bidder, who also donated Harry back to be auctioned a third time. The winning bidder on the third round was the Freeland family of White Cliff Farm. Each bidder was given a photo opportunity with Harry.
When the sawdust cleared from the show ring, Harry the Hospice Hog was auctioned three times for a total dollar amount of $6,277.50. The American Legion Post 206 of Chesapeake Beach, made a $500 donation to help with the fundraiser. Additional contributions were made to bring the total of the proceeds to $7,000.
Piason added, “The auction was so much fun and we are thrilled that the 4-H community came out to support TJ and Colby’s efforts. This money will have quite an impact on helping to cover expenses for patients who do not have adequate insurance or need financial assistance to stay at the Burnett Calvert Hospice House. We are so very grateful to the Ireland family and to those who bid on Harry.”