Inaugural Denim & Diamonds event raises money for WAMY Community Action 

Last Updated on May 31, 2022 10:50 am

BOONE — Jewels and sequins were sparkling amongst the casually clad at WAMY Community Action’s inaugural “Denim and Diamonds” event, raising funds to help fight poverty in the High Country. Approximately 250 people were in attendance for the ticketed dinner and live auction held Thursday, May 19, at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone. 

Renowned local auctioneer Jesse Miller, of First Security Insurance, drummed up bids for adventure packages, Paul McCartney concert tickets, golf and dining, artwork and vacations — plus donations towards WAMY programs.  

Dinner and drinks, provided by Gadabouts Catering and Lost Province Brewing Company, were followed by dancing to music by DJ Karl of Mohr Fun Entertainment. 

“The generosity of our sponsors and event attendees was amazing,” said Melissa Soto, executive director of WAMY. “The proceeds from the event exceeded our expectations and provided a strong start to send low-income children to summer camp and to fund necessary home repairs for some of those living in poverty within our community.” 

Soto thanked event sponsors including the “Hope Diamond” level contributor, The Dillon Family Foundation and “Blue Diamond” sponsors Rick and Susan Geldmeier. 

“It was wonderful to gather face-to-face and celebrate the work of WAMY,” Soto added. The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially devastating for the vulnerable low-income population, and WAMY more than doubled the number of individuals served in 2020-2021 over the previous year.  

Cynthia Dillon, representing The Dillon Family Foundation, highlighted some of the needs addressed by WAMY. “Watauga County is the third most impoverished county in the state, and 37% of school children in our four-county area are food deficit,” she said. 

WAMY youth development programs including after school activities and the Mountain Adventures summer day camp — which will serve over 200 children this summer — enable parents to remain in the workforce while kids experience social enrichment and healthy care. 

Housing programs by WAMY provide urgent home repairs, weatherization and heat source improvements that help make client homes safer, more energy efficient and affordable. 

“Sometimes, looking at the news, we can feel hopeless. Giving to make a difference in our community is a way to bring back hope,” Dillon said. “Each donation provides a ripple effect, touching lives and making an impact from one community member to another.” 

About W.A.M.Y. Community Action 

Established in 1964, W.A.M.Y. (Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey) is a Community Action Agency and was the first human-service non-profit to come to the High Country’s four-county area. WAMY’s mission is to partner with families and communities to provide the disadvantaged the support they need to become self-sufficient. WAMY conducts a community needs assessment every three years and programs are designed according to the needs of the community. Currently WAMY has four programs- Youth Development, Food and Nutrition, Housing and Energy, and Total Family Development. To learn more or donate visit 

WAMY Community Action’s inaugural “Denim and Diamonds” event, held Thursday, May 19, at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone, raised funds to help fight poverty in the High Country. Photo by Jan Todd 

Tiaras and denim met the dress code for WAMY Community Action’s inaugural “Denim and Diamonds” event, held Thursday, May 19, at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone. Pictured from left are Heather Ayers, Stacey Gibson and Yolanda Robertson. Photo by Jan Todd 

Cynthia Dillon, representing event sponsor The Dillon Family Foundation, addressed the attendees at WAMY Community Action’s “Denim and Diamonds” event, held Thursday, May 19. Photo by Jan Todd 

Auctioneer Jesse Miller, assisted by WAMY volunteer Susan Owen, drummed up bids on items including Paul McCartney concert tickets, a mountain adventure package featuring High Country attractions, an Alaskan cruise, Hound Ears Golf and Gamekeeper gift certificates, Wahoo’s Adventures paddling and picnic, and artwork. Proceeds will fund scholarships for children to attend Mountain Adventures Summer Day Camp in Valle Crucis, home repairs for poverty-level housing, and other WAMY programs. Photo by Jan Todd 

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