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The good people that live around Willow could be excused for thinking Mother Nature was out to get them on Monday.

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Letty Eileen Cole, 93, died on Oct. 15, 2014, in Ketchikan.
3/15/2013
Spending o’ the green

St. Patrick took bad luck in his life and turned it into something good. The patron saint of Ireland, whose feast day is celebrated on Sunday, wasn’t an Irish native. Rather, living with his Roman parents in Scotland, he was captured in a raid and brought to Ireland as a slave.

Bad luck. But he escaped a few years later, then dreamed that he was being called back to Ireland. He became a priest and returned to the Emerald Isle, where he preached and did good works.

Bad beginning, St. Patrick and Ireland. But in the end, even more than a millennium later, inseparable. What’s remembered is the good that followed the bad.

Many people on this island have had the misfortune of cancer. But residents have created something good out of something bad: The First City Council on Cancer. The group, all volunteers, exists only to help people in the area who have been diagnosed with cancer.

They describe themselves as a “nonprofit all-volunteer local organization raising money to assist cancer patients in Southeast Alaska with their medical expenses. The First City Council on Cancer also provides free cancer screenings to those in need as well as assistance with cancer support groups.”

To do that, they need money. On Saturday, they’ll go about getting some — but it’s such a fun event it’s difficult sometimes to remember that the annual St. Patrick’s Day auction is about raising money to do good. It’s usually got a rollicking good crowd with good food, good tunes and good company.

The event opens at 5 p.m. with music and a chance to look at the auction offerings at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Then the auction begins in earnest at 6 p.m. Don’t worry about parking — free buses will run to the civic center from the Centennial Parking Lot and Berth 2 every 10 minutes, from 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m., and bring people back to those places beginning at 10 p.m.

A cruise, Alaska Airlines tickets and a trolling motor are prizes in a raffle. But the fun is in the auction, for a vast array of businesses and individuals in the community have donated their very best. Everyone can find something to bid on, from, as the council describes the offerings, “tours, art, jewelry, dinner and evenings out, original artwork, flightseeing excursions and much more.” That doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what is being offered. The whole list will appear again in the Ketchikan Daily News Weekend Edition.

Over the past 10 years, the organization reports that it has returned more than a half-million dollars to our community.

All gifts from the heart, wrangled by a group of neighbors who got together simply to do good for people going through the hard times that cancer brings.

Helping others: A fine way to honor the saint whose day we mark on Sunday. The auction Saturday, and a parade on Sunday:?A perfect St. Patrick’s Day weekend awaits.