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Jeanne Sager | Democrat

THE FUNDRAISER FOR the Hills drew folks from every part of the community, even the littlest fans of Hills. Hannah Mailey, 4, of Callicoon and Sidney Solomon, 3, of Lake Huntington, hung out near one of Hills ponds under the watchful eyes of their mothers while many of the adults enjoyed the party from the deck overlooking the lawns.

Hearts and Wallets Open at Hills Inn Beerfest Fund-raiser

By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON CENTER — September 25, 2007 — Out of the ashes of disaster, rural Sullivan County always seems to craft a beautiful phoenix.
The community turned out in a big way Saturday night to help the Hills Country Inn and its owners, Ela and Cima Bue, in the wake of a devastating fire.
The Callicoon Center resort lost its clubhouse early last Sunday morning despite firefighters’ best efforts.
When the sun came up the next morning and neighbors learned the Bues didn’t have fire insurance to cover their loss, they quickly hatched a plan.
Asking Gasko and Meyer to share the already planned Beerfest at the Hills, folks like Jill Wiener of Earthgirl Pottery in Callicoon Center, Vivian Hung of Global Home in Jeffersonville and Christine Ahern at WJFF put together a benefit to go on alongside the brewery tastings.
Donations ranged from the simple – Hills t-shirts from Type O Printing – to the rare – a signed photo by blues artist James Hunter who had his first ever American gig in the Hills clubhouse back in 2005 and tattoos by a New York City tattoo artist who was married in one of Ela and Cima's wedding extravaganzas.
“The phone would ring… they’d call back and say ‘what else do you need?’” Wiener said.
Calling for a gift certificate, she’d receive offers for the certificate plus food for the crowds plus…
The silent auction and raffle, along with the Beerfest, drew hundreds to the Hills and outshining expectations.
“Ela and Cima said it was more people then they’d ever seen, and there were 500 at Day to Be Gay,” Wiener noted. “So take whatever number the beer people said they had for glasses and double it.”
The glasses provided to each paying guest quickly ran out, and the throngs of people coming in made do with plastic cups.
Along with money raised, the community has already begun pouring out its heart.
E&T Landscaping owner Tommy La Gattuta of Swan Lake has offered to bring his excavator to tear down the burnt out shell of the building, and Everlasting Spring Garden Center owners Joan and Doug Woods (who also live in Callicoon Center) will be helping to remove the debris.
Volunteerism was at the heart of the fund-raiser of a “Monday morning meeting that went until late last night,” Wiener said Sunday.
People called and said, “I’ll be there.”
Some sold raffle tickets.
Pete Galbert and Ela’s father Walter Ambrozewicz manned the grills.
Denise and Bill Pammer – whose wedding weekend was interrupted by the fire – were the bus girl and dishwasher respectively.
“It was really, exactly what community should be,” Wiener said.
Donations and offers to help clean up are still being accepted.
Checks can be sent to Ela and Cima Bue, P.O. Box 2, Callicoon Center, NY 12724.
“It was a gift to all of us that Ela and Cima allowed us to do this,” Wiener said. “We came to them and said we want to ask you something, please let your answer be ‘yes.’”

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