Band's inauguration fund-raising gets big boost

MINDEN - General Electric lit up the big board at Douglas High School with a $10,000 donation to help send the Fighting Tiger Band to Washington, D.C., for President Bush's Jan. 20 inauguration.

That donation brings the band total to $32,000 toward the goal of raising $100,000 to send 87 students and 14 chaperones to the inauguration.

"We're just happy to have an opportunity to help this terrific group of students," said Brian Palmer, general manager of GE's Minden plant. "The entire world will be watching the inauguration, and we're proud to do what we can to help the band represent our community there."

Douglas County commissioners have a request for up to $15,000 on their Thursday agenda. The board could decide to donate any amount up to the total agendized.

Not all the donations have been large ones, with $7,770 raised from individuals and through the adoption of band members. Another $9,231 was raised by quartets who played Christmas carols and by other donations.

On Thursday, band director Bill Zabelsky said he received a letter from Realtor John Wittrig, who sold him his house in 1992.

"Jennifer (Zabelsky, his daughter) was copying her hand while we were at the office so I wrote a joke check for $1 to pay for the copies," Zabelsky said. "He sent us a card and a $100 check with the photocopy of the check from May 29, 1992, with my signature and a note to Jennifer: 'Jennifer, I invested the $1 wisely and now it is worth $100. You can adopt four band members with it."

Zabelsky said both large and small donations are welcome, since the hotel the band plans on staying at is seeking a deposit.

"Every now and then we get a large donation like the one from GE and it makes a huge difference," Zabelsky said. "I know it's been said a million times, but this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids to see the nation's capital and participate in an event like this. It is truly an honor."

You can help:

Send donations to Douglas High School, P.O. Box 1888, Minden, NV 89423; contact Zabelsky at 782-5036, ext. 1102; or go to


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