Auction time …

The event now known as the Quillayute Valley Scholarship Auction turns sixty this year. At its inception, it was known as the Quillayute Valley Scholarship Fund. It began with a group of Forks residents looking for a way to help Forks High School graduates achieve higher educational goals.

The original organizers felt that due to the remoteness of the community, the cost of college or trade school education was not always within reach for many Forks families. So a group of local business people and educators wanted to find a way to help, and in a way give back for the success and achievements they had experienced living in the West End.

In February 1964 the first meeting of the Quillayute Valley Scholarship Fund Corporation and various contract logging operators was held at the Vagabond cafe to begin the drive among local industries for scholarship funds. Robert Rosmond, chairman for industrial contacts, conducted the meeting. It was decided that any young person with “promise and need” would get a scholarship; the immediate goal was one thousand dollars. The kick-off dinner was at the Russ Thomas home and raised $1,500.

In 1966 a “Forks Style Banquet” was held at the Congregational Church featuring steelhead, elk, Swedish meatballs, and Swiss steak, admission was by donation at the door, by this time the organization had raised a total of sixty-three hundred dollars and awarded thirty-nine scholarships.

In 1968 the Scholarship fund got a boost from radio. Radio station owner Gordon Otos held an impromptu auction on the local station, KVAC, selling off co-owner Bruce Elliott’s birthday gifts on the air. As the gifts ran out locals started donating more items and more people started bidding. It went on for several days and the only reason they stopped was because they got tired.

Over the years the dinners were phased out and the radio format took over. By 1980 the event had outgrown the radio station and Northwestern National Bank offered up their lobby to hold the auction and still broadcast it live over the radio.

Eventually, the event outgrew Northwestern Bank and was moved to the Bank of America building. In 1987 the Olympic Correction Center inmates began creating items for the auction. Over the years those items have contributed thousands of dollars to the fund.

In the mid-1990s, the local cable company put the event on the local advertising channel 19. The annual two-day event began taking in $20,000 then $30,000 then in 1998 a new record … $58,000 in just two days.

In 2008 the auction took in over $71,000.

After many successful years in the Bank of America building the event was moved in 2012 to the Forks High School Commons. This year the event will once again be hosted by FHS, with the Senior Parents providing concessions for hungry bidders, with the proceeds going to “Senior Safe Night”.

Record-breaking years continued …in 2017 the total was $129,000, then $141,000, then $155,000, then … COVID. In 2021 the QVSA turned to a Facebook auction raising $71,000 in one day and in 2022 a live one-day auction brought in a one-day record of $100,000! With the auction having returned to normal after COVID, last year saw another record of around $170,000. QVSA chairman David Hurn is hoping that another record can be broken this year and set the goal at $180,000.

Thanks to the original board members Robert Rosmond, Harvey King, Russ Thomas, Larry Wagg, A. Nordman, Mrs. Herman Waters and Mrs. George Thompson since its inception the QVSA has raised around two million dollars to assist Forks Grads with scholarships.

See you at the Auction this weekend!

Christi Baron,