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Wildlife fundraiser is Saturday

A wildlife organization focused on preserving the wild turkey and its habitat, as well as sponsoring a number of outreach programs, is hoping to garner community support this weekend.

The South Hills Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be hosting its annual fundraising banquet Saturday at the Knights Of Columbus, South Third Street, Ironton. A casual “eat at your leisure” dinner will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Raffles, giveaways and presentations are scheduled to last until about 10 p.m.

Cost of the dinner is $20 per person. It is $30 to become a member of NWTF.

There will be several giveaways during the night, including hunting guns, hunting blinds, a crossbow package $1,500, $1,000 and $500 in cash. There will also be silent and live auctions for art and home d/cor items.

Robert Burcham, banquet chairman, said the importance of the banquet cannot be overstated. All of the money raised goes directly into programs sponsored by the NWTF, Burcham said.

One of the newest and most important community outreach programs offered by the organization, Burcham said, is its Wheelin’ Sportsman program, which is held each April at Lake Vesuvius. The program gives those with physical limitations the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, with the help of local chapter NWTF members.

Burcham gets emotional when he talks about Wheelin’ Sportsman and says many of those who participate have no other means to get our and enjoy what many others take for granted.

“We have these people from nursing homes and they are so thankful for a chance to get our and do this. It’s a very emotional thing,” Burcham said.

Other programs sponsored by the NWTF are the Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportmanship (JAKES) program, which provides outdoor educational activities for youngsters, and the Women in Outdoors Program, which offers outdoor activities to women who may not other have these opportunities.

The NWTF also gives a $500 scholarship each year. This year Rebecca Capper, a 2006 graduate of Symmes Valley High School was named recipient of the Levon Kingrey Memorial Conservation Scholarship, She will be recognized at Saturday’s banquet.

For more information about the banquet, call Burcham at (740) 867-8475, Buddy or Mickee Fry at (740) 867-3088 or Brian James at (740) 532-3025.