Community gathers for inaugural party to #EndALS

BUCKHANNON — On April 27, the Outpost Event Center in Buckhannon was transformed into a lively speakeasy soirée for the inaugural fundraising gala hosted by the S.E.T.H. Project . This nonprofit, founded in 2021 by Buckhannon-Upshur High School alumnus Seth Poling, who lost his battle with ALS in July 2023, continues to honor his legacy of strength, endurance, triumphs, and overcoming hardships.

The event was a resounding success, selling out all 175 tickets to supporting friends, family, and community members. Attendees enjoyed an evening of music, dining, drinks, and gambling, all set against the backdrop of a 1920s speakeasy theme. The community’s enthusiasm for the theme and the event itself was palpable, contributing to an unforgettable night.

The soirée was generously sponsored by numerous local businesses and individuals, with Pro Contracting Inc., owned by Brian and Carla Reger, serving as the presenting sponsor. Additional sponsors for the poker hands and silent auction included HealthWorks Rehab & Fitness, Revital Cancer Rehabilitation, High Point Construction, CP Imagery, Lisa Cain of Edward Jones, and First Community Bank. Their substantial support, along with that of other sponsors, played a crucial role in the event’s success.

The fundraiser raised over $14,000, exceeding expectations. These funds will be directed towards ALS research and real-world training for professionals working with ALS/MND patients.  Since its founding, the S.E.T.H. Project has raised approximately $75,000.

Silent auction donors included Almost Heaven Rustic Designs, Salon Meraki, Travel Made Magical, Nirvana, Loudin Insurance, Mary Alice Poling, Ralph’s Furniture, Robbie Skinner, Becky Williams, Tractor Supply, Timberline Resort, Snowshoe Resort, Brian and Carla Reger, Cheryl Anderegg, Good Time Tattoo, and Al Tucker. The S.E.T.H. Project board wishes to thank all of the sponsors for their generosity, which played a significant role in the evening’s success. They were completely overwhelmed by the turnout and support. Everyone seemed to truly embrace the theme and enjoy the event. Board President Sarah St. Clair says that plans are already underway to make the soirée an annual event, with a different theme each year. Feedback from attendees is being considered for next year’s gala, which has yet to have a set date or theme.

Shea Phillips, who served as one of the emcees of the evening, said, “I was absolutely blown away by the kindness and selflessness of our community for this wonderful event.  Their support to help continue Seth’s passionate fight to #EndALS was evident in [the] unbelievable turnout and generosity; the first ever Speakeasy Soiree was a massive success. The Poling Family holds a special place in my heart; we have been friends for decades. I am thrilled that Seth’s memory lives on in so many positive ways, including the amazing cause that this organization continues to support.  A massive shout out to (SETH Project Board of Directors) Sarah, Kim, Lauren, and Jeff for their hard work and dedication to make this event as successful as it was.”

The S.E.T.H. Project is planning future events and initiatives to raise awareness and funds for ALS and other motor neuron diseases (MNDs). The next events will be Eat Wings, Raise Funds at Buckhannon’s Buffalo Wild Wings on Monday, June 3rd from 4PM to 9PM and Lou Gehrig Day at the WV Black Bears on Friday, June 21st at 6:30PM, with a portion of the ticket sales being donated to the S.E.T.H. Project. Additionally, you can purchase a LGD t-shirt to wear to the game here. Shirt sales end on June 2nd.

Since its inception, the S.E.T.H. Project has also focused on supporting local students through its scholarship program, funded by Buckhannon Toyota. As of May 23, the organization will have awarded a total of five scholarships to these students planning to pursue STEM-related careers:

  • 2022: Caroline Frye ($1,000)
  • 2023: Jared Brandish ($1,000)
  • 2023: Reagan Knabenshue ($1,000)
  • 2024: Bryson Johnston ($2,500)
  • 2024: Noah Radabaugh ($2,500)

This year, the number of recipients and the amount awarded increased, reflecting the growing impact of the organization.

For more information about upcoming events or to make a donation, please visit the S.E.T.H. Project’s website at and follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

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