WINCHESTER — The legacy of Marion Schottelkorb loomed large Saturday night at an event she was helping organize when she died last month.
The event was A Wizardly Evening in Oz, a “Wizard of Oz”-themed fundraiser for Winchester Area Temporary Thermal Shelter (WATTS), the nonprofit overseen by Schottelkorb for nine of its 10 years.
“She was a person of very deep passion and commitment to anything she was involved with,” said Opequon Presbyterian Church Pastor David Witt, who headed the task force of local churches that created WATTS in 2009. “That certainly involved a deep commitment and loyalty to the WATTS ministry.”
WATTS is a program that provides a warm, safe place for homeless people to have a meal and sleep during cold weather, from November to March. Twenty participating churches offer shelter for one week at a time, and shuttle services are provided to transport clients to and from each week’s location. Guests check in at 7 p.m. each night and leave by 7 a.m. each day.
“Our WATTS shelter may be open 20 weeks during the year, but it requires a year-round effort,” Witt said.
Many of the volunteers and donors who keep WATTS running attended Saturday’s banquet at West Oaks Farm Market at 4305 Middle Road in Frederick County. Sue Nixson, who handles marketing for WATTS, said Schottelkorb was key in choosing the location following last year’s fundraiser at the Cloverdale Barn on Cedar Creek Grade.
“We just picked up where she left and continued on with the plans for tonight,” Nixson said on Saturday.
Schottelkorb’s spirit also drove the creation of a new award to honor an individual for his or her outstanding support of the nonprofit organization. The first Marion Schottelkorb Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Jon Eye, president of Mover Dudes in Winchester.
In announcing the award winner at Saturday’s fundraiser, WATTS board member Robyn Miller said Eye was “truly the man behind the curtain” — a nod to the fictional “Wizard of Oz” character created by author L. Frank Baum.
“Most volunteers have never met him, but he has been to every one of your shelters and is crucial to your success,” Miller said.
Eye and his moving company volunteer each week during WATTS season to transport the nonprofit’s bedding and equipment from church to church.
“If we had to pay a mover to do this, it would cost us $354 a week. That’s over $7,000 a shelter season,” Miller said. “He has done it for free the past three years.”
“It’s easy to do things for the community when you have such an awesome leader like that,” Eye said, referring to Schottelkorb, who died on July 6.
Since WATTS is a faith-based organization, Witt offered a prayer thanking the woman whose compassion and example inspired all of the attendees at Saturday night’s fundraiser.
“Marion has left us a sincere and genuine legacy,” Witt said, “and we pray that we would take that baton and go into the future.”
For more information about WATTS, visit watts-homelessshelter.org.