Leaving on a good note  

Auctioneer wraps up 45-year journey


Doug Sorrell has had a pretty good run over the past half a century working with area nonprofits. The well-known local auctioneer recently wrapped up his 45-year career — but not before at least one more big night, which he spent helping Emerge.  

“This nonprofit is pretty unique from my perspective,” Sorrell said. “In the Spring of 2022 I attended a meeting to discuss creating an event for a new and unknown organization in Greene County.”  

Within two months, Sorrell said he found himself meeting with a new contact, which was Elaine Bonner, director of philanthropy at Emerge.   

“While Elaine had extensive development experience, she had not to my knowledge, been involved in creating a gala with all the activities involved, including a silent auction, a live auction, a funding plea, etc. Elaine is exceptional. She is very quick, and tireless in her pursuit of excellence.”  

The first event was at the Dayton Country Club and, he said, was a tough room.   

“Guests were divided on two sides with an area in the middle,” Sorrell said. “The first goal was $50,000.00. That evening attracted 225 guests and generated $125,000. Some lessons were learned.”  

After moving the venue, he said, this time the event attracted 350 guests.   

“This was the second year, and the goal was $200,000,” Sorrell said. “While the final total hasn’t been announced, it’s my understanding it will top $250,000.”   

The event also attracted a video from our Lt. Gov., from former Buckeye football head coach Jim Tressel, and a heartfelt personal message from Five Star Home Service’s Tiffany Williams.    

“Applause broke out, which is not normal,” Sorrell said. “I realized an engaged audience was present and willing to support this program. And they did.”  

Sorrell says he believes Emerge will eventually rank in the Miami Valley’s Top 5 nonprofit fundraising events.  

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for a relatively new organization, he said. “No organization has created this kind of success in under two years. No one.”  

Sorrell said he’s excited to see this as he enters a new season in life.   

“After 45 years of this ‘side gig’ I am ‘passing my gavel’ after July 20th,” he said. ”I taught auction school for 10 years hoping to find successors. I did. They include men and women. The last two presidents of the Ohio Auctioneers Association are both former students of mine, both conduct charity auctions, and both are female. . . I’ve had a great run.”  

Over the years, he said he has worked close to 1,000 charity auctions raising in the neighborhood of $50 million. . .   

“Lots of fond memories,” he added. “No regrets. Now it’s time for my wife and I to visit the destinations I’ve auctioned to others for decades.”  

As a graduate of two different trade schools, Sorrell said he believes the concept at Emerge is “simply brilliant.”   

“This worked for me,” he said. “Over the years I’ve been asked my ‘secret’ of success. My reply is courage and stupidity. I was always brave enough to try anything and too naive to realize it likely wouldn’t succeed. More often than not, however, it does succeed.”  

As a thank you to Doug for his service at the Embrace Emerge Signature Event the last two years, Emerge Founders gave a special gift to Shriner’s Hospital, an organization that is near and dear to Doug’s heart after being a part of Antioch Shrine’s Palomino Mounted Patrol for nearly 5 decades, along with his father and great uncle before him.  They traveled all over the country as well as appearing nightly for decades as part of the famed drill team during the Dayton Horse Show.

Doug said, “Emerge couldn’t have chosen a more fitting and dear to my heart organization than Shriners Hospital.”