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Bi6-Lmcast*r Fanning, Saturday, Saptambar 18, 1993
BRETHREN DISASTER RELIEF AUCTION
Where Talent, Hard
Generosity Helps The
• LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Farming Staff
PALMYRA (Lebanon Co.)
Never underestimate the power of
Take a kernel of popcorn. Give it
to Ellen Young and her niece
Janice Longenecker Holsinger,
who add a few other ingredients
Janice Holsinger and her aunt Jen Young g jrsupi cc
for the upcoming auction where they love to serve because it helps those who are in
Where People Can Buy A
LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Farming Staff
Co.) —A little bit of history can be
purchased at the Brethren Disaster
Relief Auction on September 25.
It’s a model of an original Reber
Wagon made by Ron Reber, who
following in the footsteps of his
structed the wagon on a one-third
The precisely-fashioned wagon
mirrors those made more than 100
years ago when Jonathan Reber
founded the Reber Wagon Works
Just like his great-great grand
father, Ron uses poplar, oak, hick
ory, and white ash to make a strong
The details are the same right
Ronnie Reber keeps wagon history rolling with these models built on a one-third
scale of the original Reber Wagons.
and they end up with more than
$2,000 to help the needy.
Ellen and Janice are among two'
women of many hundreds of vol
unteers who work together every
year to make the Brethren Disaster
Relief Auction a success.
The auction was started 17 years
ago to raise funds to help meet the
down to the blacksmithing he does
with a heated anvil, and the painted
design in the original colors of
Brewster green and Venetian red
with scrolling and lettering in
black, yellow, and red.
“I’m a real hound on detail.
Authenticity is very important to
me,” Ron said. “I go to a lot of
work just to make this wagon like
the real McCoy.”
That means two extra spokes on
the wagon wheel and the brake has
two extra detents on the rear brake
handle catch. Detents are the slots
between the teeth to engage or dis
engage the, brake.
Ron, who describes himself as a
person who likes tinkering around
and then getting down to the nitty
gritty, became fascinated with the
Reber wagons when he was a boy.
needs of those facing disasters such
as hurricanes and famine. The first
year, the auction garnered $11,714.
Last year. $340,000 was raised.
The auction will be held at the
Lebanon Area Fairgrounds on Fri
day, September 24 starting at 4
p.m. and on Saturday, September
2S, starting at 7 a.m. with break-
At that time, the Wagon Works
had ceased. All Ron had were bits
and pieces of its history as recalled
by relatives who also had a few
This family heritage becanu
more and more important to him as
he grew older. In retrospect, Ror
can see how events in his life pre
pared him for the job of wagon
He said, “My father was a real
stickler for doing things right If i
wasn’t done right, we did it again,
And my father always said, ‘lf yoi
have time to do it a second time,
you have time to do it right the first
As an adult, this training to do
things right was enforced by Ron’s
eight-year career in the Air Force.
“I worked with nuclear wea-
Ten years ago Ellen Young, seated, began the tradition of
making caramel corn for the Brethren Disaster Relief Auc
tion that her niece Janice Holslnger, continues today. The
two-day project made a profit of $2,400 last year.
The annual event is sponsored
by the Atlantic Northeast and
Southern Pennsylvania districts.
How do they raise so much money
in two days? Through people like
Ellen and Janice who donate their
abilities to help those in need.
Ten years ago, Ellen Young,
who has a reputation as a super
cook, offered to make caramel com
at the auction. She used her
mother’s recipe, an old but large
popper, and a copper kettle in
which to coat the popcorn with car
amel. Her husband. Bob. an admi
nistrative assistant with Elizabeth
town College, helped her.
Auction goers will have a chance to purchase a bit of his
tory at the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction where this
Reber Wagon made by Ronnie Reber will go to the highest
pons. There was no room to make a
mistake in that Everything needed
to be done literally perfect.” he
That is Ron’s aim to do
Although his wagons are two
thirds smaller than the original
farm wagons, Ron said the detail
and the strength is still there. To
demonstrate the wagon’s nigged
construction, Ron jumped up and
The aroma of freshly popped
com and simmering caramel soon
had buyers standing in line. The
first year, Ellen made a $lBO profit
Each year, sales increase, more
helpers are added, and more sup
plies ate purchased. Last year, a
$2,400 profit was made at the car
amel com stand.
In the beginning years of the
auction. Janice did not help her
aunt at the caramel com stand.
Instead, as church youth advisors,
she and her husband helped organ
ize a white elephant sale. Then the
Hoisingers moved to New England
for four years. When they moved
(Turn to Pai
down on the wagon bed.
“This will last 100 years,” he
Although the wagons are made
for working purposes, Ron said
that so far, all those he made have
been purchased by collectors and
But if a wagon would be used
and break, Ron promises to repair
free of charge anything that is not
(Turn to Pago BIT)