HOULTON, Maine — For nearly a decade, the Houlton Regional Health Services Foundation has given residents a chance to buy a diamond ring and a cadre of other sparkling gems for $20.
The tradition continues this year, as the foundation has begun selling tickets for its eighth annual diamond ring raffle.
The foundation raises money that gets put back into the community, and the popular raffle has brought a massive amount of cash into its coffers.
In the past few years, foundation grants have helped finance a handicapped-accessible van, a defibrillator for a local school, and a new pediatric suite at Houlton Regional Hospital.
Elizabeth Dulin, the foundation’s executive director, said earlier this week the centerpiece of this year’s raffle is a 14-karat white gold band with 55 diamonds consisting of 50 round and five princess-cut stones. It is valued at $8,500. Second prize is 14-karat white gold pearl and diamond earrings, and third prize is a sterling silver bracelet with Maine tourmaline.
The prizes look a little bit different from those of past years, Dulin acknowledged.
“Through the years our rings have highlighted different center stones and perhaps some accent diamonds; however, we felt the time was right to offer a whole new look,” she said.
Each year, the foundation holds the diamond ring drawing close to Valentine’s Day during a gala at a local restaurant. This year’s drawing will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Horn of Plenty in Houlton.
The foundation conducts fundraisers each year and has raffled off cars and artwork, and held concerts and other community events to help fill its coffers.
In 2007, diamond raffle funds helped the foundation bestow $302,000 upon HRH officials so they could replace the hospital’s 15-year-old nuclear medicine imaging camera with a new model. Additional money is being raised for renovation and expansion of the nuclear medicine department at the hospital.
Jewelry may be seen and tickets purchased at Goodrich Jewelry in Houlton. Tickets are $20 each, and a total of 850 tickets will be offered for sale.
Find information and purchase tickets online at www.healthservicesfoundation.org. Call the foundation office at 521-2503.