Silent auction kicks off with art to benefit kids

by Pam Roberts

During one of Kim McCluskey’s kayak guiding trips to Vietnam for Piragis Northwoods Company in April, 2003 Kim learned about three girls who had been living on a raft for about 10 months after their mother died and father left them. <BR><BR>Kim and local guide Huy stay on a double deck boat in Vietnam with clients and take off from this boat in kayaks to go on adventures. They took up a collection on their boat for the girls to help them out. <BR><BR>When Kim returned to Vietnam in September, 2003 the girls were still living on the raft. When he came back to Ely, Kim decided the girls needed a house and he told his friend Huy that he would raise the money. <BR><BR>An article appeared in the Echo, other papers picked up on it and Reader’s Digest also did a story this summer. Money started coming in and the girls now have their house and another project, a school in the remote village of Halong Bay, is almost finished. <BR><BR>Now Kim and Huy are looking at building a health clinic that will be built in a remote area where there are no doctors at all. This will be the first health care the people have had in that area. Kim and Huy will pay a Vietnamese doctor to go there once a week and do a clinic call. Kim and Huy hope to enlist some American doctors to help set it up. <BR><BR>Kim McCluskey attended the “Art from the Heart: Sun in My Heart Auction” reception at Lisa’s Book Store in Piragis Northwoods Company. Ely artists have donated artwork to be auctioned off. Bids will be taken for the art work in the silent auction up until August 31. More art pieces are upstairs in the gallery at Northern Grounds Cafe. <BR><BR>Becky Prange submitted a wood cut of an otter standing on its hind legs, Alanna Johnson helped Dayna Mase and Tim Stouffer put up the exhibit. Laura Myntti donated a charcoal drawing which was framed by Peter Kess of Kess Gallery. Nancy Scheibe submitted a watercolor of a German marketplace. Tom and Ann Walchuk, managers of Northern Grounds donated the food for the artists’ receptions. <BR><BR>Kim hopes the art auction will become an annual event as a fundraising benefit. He will be returning to Vietnam to see Huy in September and to meet with some orphanages to find out what their needs are. The plan is to help out with whatever they need: food, mattresses, refrigerators or stoves. <BR><BR> Then they may start helping out in Mongolia were there are 3-4,000 children living under the streets, staying near the hot water pipes to keep warm in the winter because there is no place for them. Kim also plans to keep building in remote areas. The projects keep showing up and as long as they keep showing up ... he’ll continue to help out. <BR><BR>Be sure to check out the art in the Sun in My Heart art auction and for more information check on ‘Sun In My Heart Vietnamese Fund’ log on to If you would like to donate to this cause send checks to Sun in My Heart, 14054 Fall Lake Road, Ely MN55731 <BR><BR>