$500,000 campaign reaches goal
"A quick decision needed to be
made, and Dick (Hare) and Jenny (Busdon) just stepped up. It’s a tribute
to these guys. They’re the lasting legacy of Galena Lodge."
— DAVE KIER, Blaine County
Recreation District marketing and development specialist
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Wood River Valley residents
galvanized their commitment to Galena Lodge this week when they capped
off a $500,000 fundraising campaign that will pay for buried electricity
lines to feed the popular north valley ski lodge.
The lodge, which was bought by the
citizens of Blaine County 10 years ago, should be able to retire its two
old generators early this summer at a June 13 flip-the-switch party and
Jenny Busdon and Dick Hare,
Power Galena! campaign co-chairs, jump for joy in response to
another successful Galena Lodge fundraising campaign. The $500,000 they
raised will pay for underground electricity lines to feed the lodge and
enable the old generators to be retired. Express photo by Willy Cook
Including the original $550,000
lodge purchase price, nine annual fundraising events and the Power
Galena! campaign, local citizens have raised nearly $2 million for the
lodge since the original Help Save Galena campaign kicked off in 1991.
"There are not taxes. That’s
really important. The community has paid for the lodge," said Jenny
Busdon, one of the Power Galena! co-chairs and a member of the Galena
Advisory Committee. "At the first Galena Benefit, we had about 250
people, and now it’s sold out—450 people every year. We’ve raised a lot
of money over the years. The community has done so much for us.
Galena supporters attended their
ninth Galena Benefit last fall, and about $100,000 is raised at each
Busdon said the lodge depended on
its "dirty, unreliable, noise, expensive" generators for too long. "It
was $25,000 per year just to run that generator," she said.
But even the Power Galena!
representatives were surprised to reach their goal this week.
Busdon and fellow Power Galena!
co-chair Dick Hare established a meeting with a local reporter on
Wednesday to announce they were $50,000 away from their $500,000 goal.
Kier arrived about five minutes after the meeting started and announced
he had just secured the final $50,000 from an anonymous donor.
"This campaign was not all that
different from the first one," Hare said. "There were more than 300
individuals who contributed. There’s a really good cross section of the
Hare pointed out that, like the
original Help Save Galena campaign, those who contributed more than $100
during the Power Galena! campaign will have their names engraved on a
plaque and hung in the lodge.
Those involved maintain that that
the timing for the project and fundraising campaign was right.
"A quick decision needed to be
made, and Dick and Jenny just stepped up," Kier said. "It’s a tribute to
these guys. They’re the lasting legacy of Galena Lodge."
Since the community purchased
Galena Lodge in 1994, the Blaine County Recreation District says it has
dreamed of routing cleaner, more reliable power to the lodge.
It got its opportunity last fall.
Syringa Networks is installing an
underground fiber optics cable through the upper Wood River Valley as
part of a statewide program to deliver broadband to rural Idaho. Because
Syringa had already jumped through the hoops of environmental review and
had the equipment on the ground, the Galena Lodge project was able to
piggyback on Syringa.
The conduit is installed, but the
single-phase power line has yet to be pulled through. This spring, Idaho
Power will install the electricity line from Russian John Guard Station