Girls' softball league rifle raffle upsets some in St. Helens
ST. HELENS, Ore. – The fundraiser for a local girls' softball league didn't feature candy bars or cookie dough sales; instead, it has raffled off an AR-15 rifle complete with a couple magazines for ammunition.
Angry parents emailed KATU when they first found about the raffle.
League board president Devin Degraffenreid and another parent came up with the idea to find a way to fund some improvements to fields and buy new equipment.
"This league – already we're hurting for equipment," Degraffenreid said. "We're hurting every year trying to get the fundraisers. ... So we said, you know what, let's try it. Let's just see what happens."
Parent Betty Bundy said she thought it was a joke at first when she saw her daughter's softball league logo on the same flier as a rifle that advertised raffle tickets.
"What I'm most upset about is the fact that they don't feel they've done anything wrong – even seeing this rift through our community," Bundy said.
Degraffenreid defended the decision.
"In my book, that's a success. It was a business decision," he said.
Degraffenreid said the softball players themselves never sold tickets – only coaches. The 330 raffle tickets sold in two days raised about $2,000 for the league.
"Trust me, in 13 years, this is the easiest fundraiser I've ever done in my life," DeGraffenreid said.
"I can't deny its success," said Bundy. "It was very successful, and you know what, they could do it 20 more times and it would be. But at the cost of how your community feels? Is it worth it?"
The winner has to be able to pass a background check and also sign a release of liability. The board says it hasn't done anything wrong.