After fielding requests from throughout Wallowa County, the 2003 Leadership Wallowa County class has elected to raise funds to help the Friends of the Joseph Branch refurbish the excursion train as their community project.

The class determined that this project would be highly beneficial, especially economically, for both the county and Northeast Oregon in general.

"We are ecstatic that the 2003 Leadership Wallowa County class is stepping up to do a fund-raiser for refurbishing the train," said Bob Casey, president of Friends of the Joseph Branch. "The funds are sorely needed and add to the value of this countywide investment."

The leadership group's fundraiser has been scheduled for May 17. The highlight of the event will be the first ride on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train. Bus transportation, courtesy of Moffit Brothers, will be provided from Joseph to Minam, where the train will be boarded for a four-hour ride to Joseph. Each rider will receive a limited edition bronze medallion depicting the Eagle Cap Excursion Train. In addition, champagne and hors d'oevres will be served and live music will be provided by Janet Bailey.

Following the train ride, a t-bone steak dinner will be held at the Cloverleaf Hall (whose kitchen was remodeled with funds raised by the 2002 leadership class) in Enterprise at 6 p.m., preceded by a social hour with a no-host bar that will begin at 5 p.m. After dinner, a dessert auction will be held and theatrical entertainment, under the direction of Pam Latta, will round out the evening.

Tickets for the train ride and dinner will be sold for $125 apiece and tickets for the dinner only will be $25 each. Space is limited, and tickets will be sold on a first come, served basis and will be available at the Wallowa County Chamber office (426-4622).

The 2003 Leadership Wallowa County class includes Michele Baird, Gina Gossman, Rob Gump, Darlene Johnson, Bob Keyser, Paige McClellan, Vicki Rosgen, Debbie Singer, Chad Dodson, and Jacinda Mitchell.

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