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Community supports Hetty’s daughters

The Miners Foundry Cultural Center in Nevada City wore a festive look on Sunday afternoon. The fundraiser – silent auction, dinner and concert – for Hetty Williams’ daughters, Briana and Sarah, drew strong support from the community as people began arriving for the event in late afternoon.

“We’ve sold 250 dinner tickets,” said Mary Dodson, advisor to the Nevada Union Key Club that organized the event with support from the Kiwanis. “The dinner’s sold out.”

The venue for the dinner was a large hall in the foundry with a stage on one side. A shiny black grand piano decorated with orange and peach-colored flowers stood in the middle of the stage. The evening’s musical performers were the Nevada Union Chamber Choir, Celtic trio Emerald Mist and Charles Raub, a student pianist. The silent auction, consisting of photographs, paintings, and ceramics by students of Nevada Union and local artists, was arranged in another room in the foundry.



“It’s the first time we (the Nevada Union Key Club) have organized something of this scale,” Dodson said. “I think we probably have 50 students involved at some level. I am very proud and impressed with what they’ve done.”

Williams’ daughter, Briana, is a senior in Nevada Union High School, and her elder sister, Sarah, is a Nevada Union graduate.




“Their (the students’) goal was to get some money for the sisters to have, outside of the special trust that’s been set up for them,” said Howard Levine, executive director of Grass Valley Downtown Association and the Kiwanis board advisor of the Nevada Union Key Club. “The Key Club’s goal was to give them some general expense money.”

Some of Briana’s colleagues took an active part in organizing this event. Anina Tweed, junior at Nevada Union, is one of them. Her brother Andy was the one who came up with the idea for the event.

“The driving force (to hold the event) was that we had this great cause,” Anina said. “We had this girl that we knew – a person who was in our classes, who we were friends with, who went through such a horrible thing.

“There was also the excitement of having our first big event. We knew we would have to put in a lot of work but we wanted to, as we wanted to help one of our friends.”

The response from the community was immense, Anina said. People called expressing their wish to be a part of the event and help in some way. Nancy Anderson, administrative assistant in the Investigations Division of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, was a volunteer at the event.

“I just wanted to give my time to an event that I thought was extremely meaningful to this community,” she said. “I am impressed with what the young people have done and with everyone who has given their time. It looks as though it was well thought out.”

Sue Ward, professor at the American River College in Sacramento, was among the visitors. Ward was a friend of Williams. She has known the daughters for a very long time.

“It’s kind of a bitter-sweet event,” Ward said, fighting back tears. “It’s sweet because the community is coming together for the kids, but sad (because of) the circumstances. If they were my children, I would like the community to come out and support them; so my husband and I are here to lay down as much money as we can.”

To some of those present, what mattered more than the amount of money raised was the gesture on the part of the students in organizing the event.

“It’s not about money, it’s about how much heart and soul they put into it,” Levine said.

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To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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