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Grass Valley Woman Loses Life Savings After Failed Fundraiser

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Nick Janes Nick Janes
Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) – She was trying to save a school; instead she lost her life savings in the process.

Patty Smith admits it was a crazy idea and she was maybe a bit naive about the whole thing; but, she isn’t sorry she tried.

“I’d do it again tomorrow. I’d do it again tomorrow,” said Smith.

Smith has no regrets even after losing her life savings.

“Everybody talks about doing something,” said Smith. “I tried. I definitely tried.”

Smith set out to save the Nevada Union High agriculture program.

She’d read in the newspaper that the program faced severe cuts.

“They were actually thinking of canceling it. Look around, agriculture is in this neighborhood county. This is the backbone of this whole county. I thought this can’t be,” said Smith.

Seemingly on a whim, she put up $20,000 of her own money for a food truck festival.

But the fundraiser fell flat. Only half as many people showed up as she planned on.

To make matters worse, it was in a public park.

She says only one in four paid the $15 admission. The rest snuck in for free.

“At one point I was walking around thanking people for their support and I realized how many didn’t have their wristbands on,” said Smith.

Smith realized right then that she was in bad shape.

She wouldn’t break even, not even close. That $20,000 she put up was long gone.

She wanted to help students get new computers.

“Two carts, so 40 computers for the whole department and from what I’ve been told, it’s going to up their education tremendously,” said Smith.

Instead, perhaps, this retiree is teaching them a different kind of lesson, how to bounce back.

Even now, Smith isn’t giving up.

“I just look at this as a stumbling block along the way,” said Smith.

“Is going to be a next year?” asked CBS13’s Nick Janes.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” said Smith.

Smith plans to have another fundraiser next year. She says a lot of people have been calling and asking if she needs help.

Her response, she’s doing just fine on her monthly pension. So, if anyone wants to help, they can make a donation to the Nevada Union High agriculture program.

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