Amid a pandemic when many businesses are struggling, some are still stepping forward to help their own.

Brown Bishop Post No. 704, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the VFW Auxiliary reached out to area businesses when one of their auxiliary members, Sherri Anderson, requested help with paying medical bills.

For over 40 years, Anderson worked in the medical field and most recently worked as a home care giver/certified nurse’s assistant for Healing Hands Caring Hearts LLC and Community Care Connections.

She has served in the VFW Auxiliary, including as local auxiliary trustee and president from 2017 to 2019 and  Kansas’ 3rd District auxiliary president in 2012-13 and 2017-18. From 2016 to 2019, but not continuously, she served as Kansas’ 3rd District auxiliary color bearer, chaplain, junior vice president, senior vice president and committee chairwoman and trustee. As well she served as Kansas’ VFW department banner bearer and color bearer during those years.

The VFW originally requested support from the local community of Parsons. Some community members stepped up and donated monetarily to help Anderson pay some of her mounting medical bills as she battles cancer.

“Then we began to discuss a silent auction as another way of gaining more support,” the VFW stated in a release. “It was decided that gathering people in an enclosed space wouldn’t be responsible at this time, so the idea of a silent auction that could be held completely online was born. Thus our first ever digital silent auction was born. We agreed that this would be a great way to increase the funds already received as well as support our community by promoting patrons to visit their businesses in return for their donation. A win-win.”

“She has given of her time over the years to providing assistance for families who are affected by the military, and they have veterans within her family, so she had really given of herself for many years to take care of people, and even in her career path she gave of herself to take care of people  …” auction organizer Jamie Ellis said. “When she said she needed help with medical bills, the idea came about that this would be a good way to help support the community while also being able to help such a valued member.”

Businesses donated enough items that 28 bid packages were put together. For example, the Oswego Golf Club and Katy Golf Club both donated golf packages that include two rounds of golf and a golf cart rental. Another package includes a Chicken Challenge for dinner out at the three well-known Pittsburg area chicken restaurants, Barto’s Idle Hour, Chicken Annie’s and Chicken Mary’s.

There are a few date night packages to choose from.

A Dine Around PK package includes dinner at five Parsons restaurants — Ballers, Ernesto’s, Kitchen Pass, Pizzo’s and Shredder’s.

Another package includes a $100 assorted meat bundle from Timber Creek Meats, along with some Crown Royal, wine and Traeger pellets.

Among many other items, there is also a handmade Dodge tailgate bench to bid on and a University of Kansas fan gear basket.

The online auction began Sept. 19 and will end at 7 p.m. Friday, so there are only few days left to bid.

Not many people have placed bids, Ellis said, so they are hoping to get the word out to increase participation.

Those wishing to join in the bidding can visit or download the app. Bidders must register with Bid Beacon first and then enter the code XQ9GCP.

“You will see a list of pictures that have details about the items and the current bid. If you select the item, you will be shown who currently holds the highest bid,” the VFW explained in a release. “There is a feature that allows you to set the highest amount of money you would like to spend on an item and then the platform automatically increases your bid by the predetermined increment as others bid on the item until your maximum amount is reached. This is helpful since you may not be online to outbid another. You are also notified via email of status changes to the items you’re bidding on.”

When the auction closes, each person will be notified by email and through the online platform of the items they have won. They will be prompted to pay with a card or Paypal online. The platform informs the VFW who has paid and if they would rather pay in person that is an option at pickup as well.

The winners can pick up their items between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at the VFW post, 105 Main St.

“We really can’t have this great auction without people participating,” Ellis said. “It’s amazing how this community that suffered through this pandemic is still able to come together and provide something in a positive way that will ultimately help someone else and them.”

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