Wings soars to over $47K Raised at 2021 Yaak Auction

Two years in the making, the 2021 Yaak Wings Benefit Auction for regional cancer support brought in over $47,000 on

Saturday, May 15, at the Yaak River Tavern and Mercantile. A record event for not only the Yaak, but all of Lincoln County. Each year,
volunteers and board members work in preparation for the event for months in advance. This year, volunteers, businesses, and
auction-goers alike were anxious to again be involved and nurture success after last year’s cancellation of the auction due to Covid-19. Sunshine, smiles, and sales beyond anyone’s expectation were aplenty  as the entirely outdoor event unfolded. (Photo by Sara Lang)


by Sara Lang


The 2021 Yaak Wings Auction and Cancer Benefit held on May 15 at the Yaak River Tavern & Mercantile has tallied this year’s donations. As this past week came to a close, news broke that over $47,000 in funds have been raised for Wings Regional Cancer Support to help defray the out-of-pocket expenses associated with cancer treatment for those who might need assistance.

“We have set a new record,” shared event board member, Sandy Beder-Miller. “People were so generous, happy to be outside, and the weather was gorgeous. It was our first time holding the live auction outdoors, which is risky with the changeable Montana weather – but it worked!”

The live auction alone this year raised $29,000. Nordic Auctions of Libby brought four auctioneers who donated their time at the live auction to maximize the gross benefit for Wings. “They can’t wait to come back and help with the live auction again next year,” shared another board member. “It was amazing to watch them work the crowd with one calling and three spotting for paddles.  They worked very hard and rotated positions to give their lungs a break. One bidder commented on how cool it was to see a female auctioneer in action, too.”

Musicians Sister Cousins and Dose entertained the crowd throughout the afternoon, donating all their tips back to the auction while the crowd mingled and set their sites on the silent
auction, bucket raffles, and 50/50. (Special thanks to Bob, of “Dose”, who
celebrated his big 50th birthday with Wings and put his other birthday plans on hold.)

Hot dogs and popcorn were available all afternoon. “The person working that stand put out a tip jar that brought in an extra $100,” said Sandy. “We also ran out of hot dogs at one point, and the church then stepped in to donate more and keep the sales going.”

Once evening set in, the tavern served 124 Mexican Dinners as the daytime tallies were run. $3,766 raised at the silent auction and another $1,700 in bucket raffles. Dinner tickets added yet another $1,240.

Wings is a zero-overhead benefit.  There are no paid positions and no free dinners.  All the volunteers and board members put in countless hours and often chip in to make this event all that it is.  Planning goes on behind the scenes for four months with dedication to the community and county residents at the helm.

“Pandemics don’t end cancer.” And this year, it’s been proven with records in every category from donations to attendance to sales. With last year’s event cancelled as were so many fundraisers, the outcome this year was unknown.

In 2019, the Yaak Wings Auction raised $37,049. That record now smashed by over $10,000 in 2021.

“Thank you. Thank you, thank you,” shared Miller. “In the end it was another great day for an even greater cause.”

To learn more about Wings Regional Cancer Support or how to acquire an application for assistance, please visit:  To stay attuned to the Yaak Wings Organization and its fundraising efforts, please visit the Yaak Wings Benefit on Facebook.

Montana Department of Commerce Awards Local Museums Project Funding

MONTANA – The Montana Department of Commerce
announced on Thursday, May 20, that 23 Montana communities will share more than $5 million of grant funding for 26 historic preservation projects. The grants, awarded through Commerce’s Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program, will be used to
improve historical sites, historical societies and history museums in Montana.

“These grants will help communities share stories of the past, giving visitors and residents a true glimpse of Montana’s fascinating, deep-rooted history,” Commerce Director Scott Osterman said. “Projects like these can really help rejuvenate Montana communities with increased economic development, statewide tourism and job creation.”

Improvements to these historical sites, societies and museums may include infrastructure repair, building renovations, maintenance, remediating building code issues, security enhancements and fire protection.

Included in the 26 historic preservation project grant funds awarded were:

  • Libby: $229,690 for The Heritage Museum
  • Troy: $4,904 for the Troy Museum and
    Visitors Center

Enacted in 2019, the Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program was created to help communities
increase economic development, community revitalization and statewide tourism through added investment, job creation, business expansion and local tax-base growth.

Eligible applicants for the program include incorporated nonprofit organizations, incorporated cities or towns, associations, counties, and tribal governments. For more information visit COMDEV.MT.GOV.




“The Museum’s roof is leaking and the entire roof framework above the logs must be replaced,” shared Sherry Turner of The Heritage Museum in Libby in
an email on how the museum plans to spend the $229,690 grant awarded. “Unfortunately, the price
of products has doubled or tripled since the grant
application with bid was submitted one and a half years ago.”

For this reason, the Libby museum will be looking for ways in which to still accomplish the work with the awarded dollars. If you would like to contribute to this project and help in offsetting the inflation which has transpired, please send checks to:  The Heritage
Museum, Roof Fund, P.O. Box 628, Libby, MT 59923;
or stop by the Museum at 34067 US Hwy 2 South in Libby. For more information or to leave a message, please call (406) 293-7521.



“I forgot I even applied for that grant until Tracy from City Hall told me that I did,” shared Susie Taylor of the Troy Museum and Visitor’s Center. “That’s how long it has been – pre-Covid.”




Taylor went on to explain how the Commerce funding will be applied for themselves, “It will actually now combine with the $1,000 grant the Troy Museum received last Fall from the Lincoln County Community Foundation. The Troy Museum needs a second door – for two reasons.”

Reason #1- Safety. If something should happen, such as a fire or any emergency which blocks the main entry to the building, there needs to be an alternate route for evacuation.

Reason #2 –Installing the new door will also improve ADA (American Disability Act) access for the visitor’s center and museum.

“The front entry door does currently meet ADA standards with a cement access ramp, entry door width, etc., “shared Taylor. “But to create the new and additional entry door, we will also need to include an ADA cement access ramp behind the Troy Museum to connect to the new access door.”

The door, ordered through Larson Lumber, arrived this past week. The City of Troy Public Works Department will be placing the door and the plan at this time is to get the cement ordered soon. “With the lumber prices what they are, the door was just slightly higher in cost than we originally planned for in 2020, but still within the grant monies received.”