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Pet photo contest raises record amount for Rotary endeavors

Michelle Corey, her son Bryce, Alice Brown, Todd Corey, Pat Consentino with JJ and Buddy, Grace LaPlante and Robert Cormier pose for photos after accepting their trophies in the Tilton-Northfield Rotary's Pet Photo Contest. The awards were handed out at the New Hampshire Veteran's Home last Wednesday where LaPlante, also a Rotary member, announced a record $7,100 was raised this year. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
May 05, 2010
TILTON — When the Tilton-Northfield Rotary arrived at the New Hampshire Veteran's Home last Thursday morning everything went to the dogs - and cats, and even a steer - as the club announced the winners of the third annual Pet Photo Contest.

Grand prize winner in the competition was a dog who many considered the Veteran's Home's own - Riley, a black lab owned by the neighboring Corey family. Riley was a regular guest, meal mate and perhaps a bit of a therapist for residents and staff alike as she made her daily trek to the home for many years. When the gentle black lab passed away in January Todd, Michelle and Bryce Corey, along with Riley's "other family, the residents, staff of NHVH, were deeply saddened. Riley was the winner of the Rotary's first Pet Photo Contest and, with a new "In Memoriam" division in the Rotary's pet photo contest, Alice Brown, assistant to the Commandant at NHVH, decided to enter a photo of Riley once more.

"We want to thank the Corey's and Riley, too, for every minute she spent here with us. She'll always be a part of the Veteran's Home," Brown said.

The Corey family was on hand for the trophy presentation. Son Bryce had a hand in the fundraising as well by selling lemonade, brownies and candy, raising $60. He was able to raise $50 by doing well in school, mom Michelle said.

"He had a really hard spelling list one week so we told him if he got an A on the test we'd contribute $50," she said.

Bryce rose to the challenge and got the A and the $50 to buy more votes for Riley.

Riley not only took home the In Memory trophy but was also the Best in Show. Bryce's only request was to have the two trophies placed below the portrait of Riley that hangs in the lobby of NHVH. Brown agreed and also donated her prizes to the Coreys in gratitude for their generosity in sharing Riley with NHVH.

Residents and staff took a few moments to remember their four-legged friend after the awards were handed out. With lots of tear-filled laughter they recalled Riley learning how to enter the building through the automatic doors and even manage to make her way onto the elevator to go to her favorite spot on the second floor - the dining hall.

Bill Cundy, a resident at NHVH said, "Whoever taught that dog how to run the elevator did a good job!"

People voted for their favorites by contributing money to the contest. Each dollar donated counted as a vote. Riley's votes totaled more than $1,500.

Rotarian Grace LaPlante of Northfield lead the awards ceremony and said it was the largest contribution to date. In all, the photo contest raised $7,100, more than double the amount of the past two years. She said the money will be used toward future programs, scholarships for local students and to assist the Rotary in their service to Tilton, Northfield and Sanbornton.

"Raising this much money doesn't just support the club but the communities as well," LaPlante said.

In other awards, first place for the Dog category went to Pat Consentino for a photo of Tweaks and Friends - seven Cairn terriers lined up on a couch. Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier took home first place in the Cat category for a photo of his pet, Smokey Bomb. Chub the steer won first prize in the "Other Pet" category, entered by Janet Gilman, and Funniest Pet photo went to Dave Gilman and his cat Bud. The Cutest Couple photo was that of LaPlante and her husband Joe's two dogs Missy and Mica, and the Mascot trophy went to Janet Rosequist. Her dog Fannie is the mascot of the Winnisquam FFA and joins her three days a week at her job in the Voc-Ag program at Winnisquam High School.

Gift certificates for a wide variety of services, trophies and pet portraits were among the prizes for the winners. Sponsors for the categories were Birch Hill Kennels, Tilton School, Winnisquam FFA, Missy's Biscuits, Franklin Savings Bank, Northway Bank and Lakes Region Animal Hospital. Nearly forty other local businesses donated prizes or helped sponsor the contest with cash contributions.

"This has really grown over the past three years. To double our fundraising this year just shows that people will help out, even in a tough economy," LaPlante said.

A record 101 photos were entered and the Rotary hopes to see the annual event grow more each year.

Entries for this year's contest, along with more information on the Tilton-Northfield Rotary, its scholarship program and upcoming events can be seen at www.tnrotary.org.

Littleton Chmber
Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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