Enchanted Forest

-- Season of Giving --

Enchanted Forest raises $300k for charities

By LeeNichole Marett

The 2014 Enchanted Forest Charity Auction and related events returned to the Basin last week. This year, generous corporations and individuals raised $300,350 to benefit local charities at the annual Christmas tree auction, held Thursday, Nov. 20.

"We call this the love bubble because, for the rest of the year, and for months into the next year, we feel the love and the excitement and the thrill of friendships, people, and all the things that take place on this evening, all the seeds that are planted for goodness and caring." said Irene Hansen, Director of the Duchesne County Chamber of Commerce.

The Enchanted Forest continues to grow each year. This year, 42 trees were submitted for the auction, each benefiting a local charitable organization.

"The Enchanted Forest is the art of possibility. The possibility of the Uintah Basin, the possibility of the people, the possibility of prosperity." said Hansen. "The repercussions of this event effect the entire community for the entire year."

The Roosevelt Rotary Club partners with the Duchesne County Chamber of Commerce to sponsor the Enchanted Forest each year. The Rotary Club was influential in beginning the auction four years ago.

"Wherever we go in Rotary, whoever we talk to, they've all heard about the Roosevelt Rotary Enchanted Forest fundraiser." said Dan Karen, Roosevelt Rotarian. "They want to know what our secret is, and we always tell them that there isn't any secret. You've just got to have the right industrial leaders. You've got to have the right people in your community. As I look out across here each year, it's the same generous people each and every year."

"The only two counties west of the Mississippi where a child can be born into poverty and end up in the top tax bracket are Duchesne and Uintah Counties" said Hansen. "That's because of wealth creators. That's because of the business builders. That's because of entrepreneurs. It's that idea that we're celebrating at the Enchanted Forest."

Funds raised at the Enchanted Forest each December go on to impact hundreds of lives in the Basin.

"The last four years, this group of people has touched and changed hundreds of people's lives with their generosity." said Karen. "They've taken a lot of pain out of people's lives."

Though this year's event didn't raise as much money as the $400,000 raised in 2013, the total was still impressive. Additional donations continued to come in on Saturday afternoon, meaning that the final total for the event could be well over $300,000.

"I'm amazed with the generosity we've seen here, especially when you consider that many of these same people donated huge sums to the aquatic center this year," Hansen said.

"The amount of money that's been raised here is phenomenal for a community this size," said Karen. "I would challenge you to find any community anywhere in the country that raises the amount of money that this community raises per ca-pita."

Dr. Cal LeMon was invited to be the keynote speaker and the tree auction on Thursday evening. LeMon and his wife have attended the Enchanted Forest as guests for several years in a row.

"I have sat here two previous years and I watched you bid for these trees," Dr. LeMon said. "I have never in my life observed anything like this. I believe that to whom much is given much is required. I believe that people who are blessed have an obligation to bless others. I have sat here and I have watched you give of your income, of your success, with abandonment because you take great delight in blessing someone else with you blessings."