Derby raises $30K for storm relief

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 30, 2005

Sandra Smith raised her hand to claim the grand prize Thursdayduring the Fifth Annual King’s Daughters Foundation Duck Derby.

The celebration could not begin, though, until a records checkcould show the woman with the common name was the SandraSmith who had won. As it turned out, Smith, of Newton Lane, was thewinner and she could soon drive off in a new 2005 Ford Focus.

“It’s unbelievable,” Smith said as she learned the news. “I’venever won anything.”

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Smith was still is disbelief a few minutes later as she receivedthe car keys from Lavelle Sullivan, of Sullivan Ford LincolnMercury Mazda.

“It’ll sink in in a minute,” Smith said.

About a week ago, Smith said she bought a “Quack Pack” of fiveducks. She said she buys a pack each year.

“I always have hope, but I never expected to win,” Smithsaid.

Smith’s five ducks were among an estimated 5,300 adopted duringthis year’s derby. The adoptions, combined with cash contributions,generated more than $30,000, said JoAnna Sproles, foundationspokesman.

The adoption total was the third-highest in the event’s historybehind the first year’s 8,000 ducks and the second year’s 6,000.The total was especially good considering it followed two recenthurricanes, one of which forced the derby to be moved from Saturdayduring the Ole Brook Festival to last night.

“With everyone’s thoughts and pocketbooks in other places, giventhat we had two recent disasters, we didn’t know how we would do,”Sproles said. “We were very pleased we were able to exceed lastyear’s sales.”

Phillip Grady, KDMC’s chief executive officer, agreed.

“We’re excited the community chose to adopt the ducks while alsohelping with hurricane relief efforts,” Grady said.

One possible factor in the success is that derby proceeds havebeen designated to help local hurricane relief efforts. Previousyears’ funds have gone toward hospital renovation projects.

Smith applauded the foundation’s decision to contribute torelief efforts.

“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”

Among other winners, Eugene Smith, of California Camp Road, wassecond. He will have his choice of $2,500 cash or a seven-nightcruise for two. In third place was M.L. Hayles, of Brookhaven, whowill receive $1,000.

The Dilly Dally Duck, the last one to cross the finish line, hadbeen adopted by KDMC employee Carolyn Jointer. Sproles said Jointerwill receive a cash prize since employees already have a membershipto King’s Daughters Fitness Center, which was the original prizefor adopting the last place duck.

Smith said the new car would come in handy for her family, whichincludes husband, Stacey, and their children Hannah, Hollie andHeidi.

“We can always use an extra vehicle,” Smith said. “With gasprices so high like they are, I think it’s going to be a lotbetter.”