Attendees at the Chester Rotary-sponsored Diamonds in the Rough benefit for Katie Graveen enjoy food, drink, music and conversation at Chester Memorial Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Photos By Gregg Scott

Champagne, diamonds and community abound in Chester.

Over 60 Lake Almanor area residents came out Tuesday, Sept. 12, to show their support for Katie Graveen and her fight against the debilitating effects of Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease.

The event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chester, was called Diamonds in the Rough and everyone who donated $100 or more had an opportunity to win a ring with five diamonds appraised at $4,500.

Upon hearing about the idea for the benefit event, Chester resident and County Supervisor Sherrie Thrall donated the diamond ring.

Donations of $25 or more included an evening of hors d’oeuvres, champagne, wine, beer and live music.

The extensive food offering, prepared by Highlands Ranch Resort, included all the makings for beef and chicken “walking” tacos, Mexican rice, beans, fresh salsa with a variety of chips, and an array of fruits, melon and vegetables.

Upbeat and “easy to dance to” music by “The Band” created a lot of toe tapping and dancing whether on the floor or in the seats.

Originally, the venue for the occasion was to be at the Higgins Ranch, but the afternoon thunderclouds dictated a move to an indoor location.

“There may be a little less space, but everyone sure seems to be having a good time,” noted one attendee as she danced to the music.   

“Diamonds in the Rough was made possible by several Almanor Basin businesses and individuals that generously made donations to cover the costs involved with the event,” said Rotary President Becky Brewster.

“Every dollar that was received at the event will go to help Katie with her medical expenses,” she added.

It was reported that just over $8,000 was donated that night.

The high point of the evening was undoubtedly when Graveen came up to the podium to thank all the people in attendance and to pick the numbered chip that would correspond to a numbered champagne glass and reveal the winner of the diamond ring.

The lucky winner was none other than Chester resident Kitty DeWitt who jumped to her feet as her number was called and embraced Graveen.

Anyone interested in making a donation can contact John at 596-3303 or Cheri at 249-2516.

Checks should be made out to Chester Rotary and note Katie Graveen on the check.