Some 200 people crowded into the Wallowa Senior Center Sunday afternoon for a pie auction to help defray medical expenses to Mischelle Hileman who is recuperating in a Boise hospital from frostbite suffered during eight days and seven nights of exposure from an elk hunt that went awry. The benevolent crowd averaged $53.27 per bid on 169 donated pies, cakes and cookie plates, earning $9,002 for the cause. The total figure includes cash donations.
A number of musicians provided music at the start of and during the gala afternoon. Event coordinator Charlie Trump played his fiddle with a backup band, as did Jody Domschot of La Grande with the Blue Mt. Old Time Fiddlers. The quartet of Teri Barnhart, Jeanette Sorenson, Beth Girtz and Tiffany Sams also blended their voices in song.
A special treat for the crowd came when Bill Lehr and Marilyn Seifert, the two individuals who found Hileman following eight days of searching, sang a duet.
Prior to the auction it was announced that a phone call had been received from Hileman and her parents in Boise. The report was that she was weak, but recovering from a blood transfusion and that the scheduled amputation of her legs was still on hold. Even more good news came with the announcement that she had experienced rejuvenated tissue below the knees on both legs.
Hileman's request to those attending the pie auction, according to Nancy Trump, was to "hug somebody and love them before you leave today."