Teen brothers TJ and Colby Ireland devised an appetizing way to give thanks to a Chesapeake Country charity.
They raised a hog for the 4-H livestock auction at the Calvert County Fair. Instead of keeping the money, the Irelands donated it to Calvert Hospice.
The brothers, ages 16 and 14, wanted to help hospice because of the help it had given to their family.
“A fellow 4-Her from another state had donated the proceeds from their livestock project to a charity,” said TJ of the origin of their idea.
Born in March, Harry the hog, a Duroc crossbreed, weighed just 38 pounds when he came to the Irelands in May. By September, Harry tipped the scales at 279 pounds.
“We had to hand-feed him toward the end so he didn’t go over the maximum weight,” TJ said.
Harry proved a good moneymaker as well as a good eater.
At the annual auction, Rodney Gertz of Quality Built Homes won the first bid but donated Harry back to be auctioned again. Harry’s second bid-winners, the Wise Family of Redgate Farm Enterprises, also redonated Harry. He was finally won by the Freeland Family of White Cliff Farm.
Harry’s auction raised $6,277.50. The American Legion Post 206 of Chesapeake Beach donated $500, and additional contributions brought the total to $7,000.
“This money will have quite an impact,” said Claire Piason, director of development at Calvert Hospice. “It will help cover expenses for patients who do not have adequate insurance or need financial assistance to stay at the Burnett Calvert Hospice House.”
The Irelands are already looking forward to next year’s auction.
“I get to start all over with another project next year,” said TJ, “and I now have the funding to do it.”
This year went so well, he added, “that we plan on donating another hog to Calvert Hospice next year.”