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Rob Potter | Democrat

Lauren Ritz, right, a senior at Sullivan West Central School, smiles as she holds up the $1,000 scholarship check she received from the Sullivan County Long Beards during Sunday’s banquet at the Rockland House. Pictured with Ritz is her mother, Debbie Strachan.

Sullivan County Long Beards hold annual banquet

By Rob Potter
ROSCOE — April 20, 2010 — The Sullivan County Long Beards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) held its seventh annual banquet on Sunday afternoon at the Rockland House.
Dozens of Long Beards members, friends and special guests packed the main dining room of the well-known Roscoe restaurant for the dinner.
Banquet chairman Hank D’Auria noted it was the biggest crowd ever to attend the event, which serves as the Sullivan County Long Beards’ largest fundraiser each year.
“We have 194 people here today,” said D’Auria, who was recently elected the Second Vice President of the New York State NWTF.
“You can’t even fit a flea in here,” D’Auria added with a big smile.
In addition to D’Auria’s election to Second Vice President, Sullivan County Long Beards President Butch Kortright is also serving the New York State NWTF. Kortright is a board member and the Scholarship Chairman for the state NWTF.
NWTF Regional Director for Eastern New York Lou Perazzini welcomed everyone to the banquet.
“I go to about 30 of these banquets and this is definitely my favorite one,” he said. “The Sullivan County Long Beards are a great group.”
Perazzini then presented the New York State NWTF Regional Director’s Appreciation Award to Kortright, Hank D’Auria and Hank’s wife, Fran D’Auria, who is the Secretary of the Sullivan County Long Beards.
On behalf of the Sullivan County Long Beards, Fran D’Auria then introduced some of the honored guests and annual donors in attendance. The honored guests included Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff and his family, Diane Shelton, Ed Bacon, the guys from the Sullivan County Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and New York State Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. The annual donors included the correctional officers of the Sullivan Correctional Facility in South Fallsburg, M&M Auto Group, Karl Greer of Greer Infrastructure, Curtis and Darren of Landscape Trailers, Friends of the NRA, Dick Lambert and Jeff Bank, the Grass Roots Hometown Bank.
Gunther offered a few remarks, noting that she and her colleagues in the New York State Assembly are very aware of the concerns of sportsmen and sportswomen across the state.
“The Gunther family has a strong tradition of hunting and fishing,” she said. “The family has had a hunting club since before 1900. Hunting is great for the economy of Sullivan County and it keeps families together from generation to generation.”
Fran D’Auria presented Sullivan County Long Beards’ scholarships to two local high school students. The first place scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Lauren Ritz, a senior at Sullivan West Central School. Ritz plans to become a veterinarian and possibly have a second job as a hair dresser.
The second place scholarship of $250 was awarded to Troy Edwards, a senior at Livingston Manor Central School. Edwards plans to attend SUNY Cobleskill and his career goal is to become a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Law Enforcement Officer.
Fran D’Auria also presented a Sullivan County Long Beards’ certificate of appreciation to the Corrections Officers of Sullivan Correctional Facility in South Fallsburg. Mark Puerschner accepted the certificate on behalf of his fellow corrections officers.
The banquet also featured a live auction, a silent auction and a bucket raffle. The two auctions and raffle featured dozens of prizes, including guns, wildlife prints, a wall clock, turkey box calls and the 2010 NWTF Knife of the Year.
Tim Robinson, an auctioneer from Franklin, graciously donated his time to conduct the live auction. Robinson noted that he has also given his time for auctions to benefit other organizations, including the Delaware County chapter of the NWTF, World Safari Association, Friends of the New York State Venison Donation Program and the Friends of the NRA.
At the end of the banquet, Hank D’Auria offered words of gratitude on behalf of the Sullivan County Long Beards.
“I would like to thank all of you for coming to our annual banquet,” he said. “I also want to thank all of the people who helped put this banquet together. I hope to see all of you next year.”

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