Anonymous donor delivers $30,000 to rummage sale
MINTURN — Vi Brown was helping pack up the last bit of her last Eagle Valley Community Fund Rummage Sale. She was standing out front of the building in Minturn’s Maloit Park, letting her mind wander back over decades of stuff that rolled in and out of those doors, all the friends she made and all the good they did.
In the midst of that, her reverie was interrupted for a very good reason.
Someone drove up to her, rolled down the driver’s side window, handed Vi a check for tens of thousands of dollars, and drove away.
The donor did it anonymously, and that’s how it will stay, Vi said.
“The donor likes the rummage sale and gave the donation to honor Byron and I,” Vi said.
Vi said all sorts of emotions rolled through her.
“I looked up to see if God was up there, and if the clouds were rolled back,” Vi said.
The community rummage sale made about $188,000 this year, up a little from last year. Vi was feeling pretty good about that. Then the donor drove up. She felt even better.
“Can you imagine someone driving up and handing us a check for $30,000? I felt that God gave me a miracle. I’m so glad we were picked,” Vi said.
The rummage sale is a gathering of friends, Vi said.
“I’ve been working with some of these people for more than 40 years. I’ve seen them and their kids grow up,” Vi said.
“People volunteer from all over the county. This turned out to be a good way for people to connect in the county.
Walking away happy
After running the community rummage sale for decades, Vi and Byron are walking away. Nancy Nottingham will run it next year.
Vi really does want to spend more time with her family.
“He’s my favorite husband,” Vi said.
Back when Dowd Junction was down valley, it took about a week to get everything sorted, priced, cleaned and ready to sell.
Now it takes all summer.
For each hour volunteers work, they earn money for the charity or non-profit of their choice, usually having more fun than working people should.
The Eagle Valley Community Rummage Sale started in 1964, just two years after Vail did.
Some local women were raising money to pay Vail’s first school master, Allen Brown, to teach their kids.
“They didn’t have any money to pay his wages,” Vi said.
Eventually, Vi and some others dedicated all their hours to Friends of the School. They raised $50,000 to launch Vail’s first public school, a one-room affair above the clinic.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.