Make-A-Wish gearing up for fundraiser

Courtesy photo Make-A-Wish granter Hazel Richter accepted the award of Shining Star for her and her husband at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico annual dinner in January. Richter is photographed here with two wish recipients.

Liliana Castillo

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico’s Curry, Roosevelt and De Baca counties chapter is gearing up for its second annual fundraiser.

Clovis residents Hazel and Bill Richter serve as the main wish granters in the area and were recently recognized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico for their work on the fundraiser in 2010.

Bob Biggers, president and chief executive officer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico, said granters are given Shining Star awards annually for going the extra mile.

The awards are given at an annual board dinner and volunteer recognition event.

Biggers said the number of Shining Star awards varies each year depending on the number of recipients who warrant the award.

“The Shining Star is the top volunteer recognition that we do,” he said.

Biggers said the Richters have branched out and created fundraising events as well as being granters.

“It’s the number of things they’re doing to promote the awareness of the organization and they’re wish granters as well,” he said.

Operations and Volunteer Manager Allison Hendricks said the Richters give their all.

“They’re really heart driven and invested in the organization. They do everything with 100 percent. They are whole-hearted in everything they do and it makes them pretty special,” Hendricks said.

Hazel Richter said she was in disbelief when she and Bill were given the award. She had traveled to the annual banquet in Albuquerque alone because Bill Richter was out of town for another volunteer opportunity.

“I couldn’t believe we deserved recognition out of 180 granters in the state,” she said. “I think we are unworthy.”

Hazel Richter is on her fifth year as a granter and her husband is on his third.

The Richters organized the first fundraiser dinner and auction for Curry, Roosevelt and De Baca last year and were able to raise about $10,000.

Richter said the state agency has been about 25 percent short on wish granting funds and grants between 90 to 100 wishes a year.

The Richters said they grant between three to five wishes a year on average in the three counties they cover. With an average wish cost of $8,600, Hazel Richter said she’s hoping the second annual dinner and auction will raise closer to $15,000.

“This isn’t like any other organization where you budget for the number of people you know you’re going to help,” she said. “We never know. We feel like our kids deserve better. We want to take care of our own children.”

The second annual Wishing Upon A Star Dinner and Auction will take place 4:30 p.m. April 16 at the Yam Theatre in Portales.

The event includes a live, silent and ticket auction for about 80 items.

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. and attendees can choose to decorate their own table and bring their own food or to be catered.

Richter said they’re hoping for businesses to get excited about decorating a table in their business’ theme.

Auction items will range from gift certificates to beauty supplies to gift baskets, Richter said. A big ticket auction item includes a six day and five night trip to South Africa.

Local musician Andy Mason will perform from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and a wish recipient from Albuquerque ,10-year-old A.J. Kromback, will be the guest speaker.

Tickets are $160 a table to decorate a table and bring food for eight or $240 per table of eight with dinner catered. Individual tickets are $30 each.

Tickets can be purchased until April 11.

Richter said the children they grant wishes to make everything worthwhile.

“These kids are heroes,” she said. “What they go through I can’t even imagine. They don’t complain. They’re so grateful.”

Richter said she and Bill Richter feel they share the award with the community.

“This is the community’s award, not ours,” she said. “It’s the community that made this possible.”

Fast Facts

What: 2nd Annual Wishing Upon A Star Dinner and Auction

When: 4:30 p.m., auction viewing, 6 p.m. dinner April 16

Where: Yam Theater in Portales

Information: 309-9442 or 309-9838

Donations can be mailed to:

Wishing Upon A Star

2508 N. Prince #148

Clovis, NM 88101