Catholic Charities' St. Patrick's Day Gala regularly sets the gold standard for fundraiser auctions, and the 13th annual celebration March 15 didn't disappoint.

The 2011 winner of The Gazette's Best of the Springs for top charity auction grew and the 2014 version required 90 minutes prior to dinner for many of the almost 500 attendees to take a look and plan their bidding gamesmanship.

The Catholic Charities event has not only an extensive silent auction but a special "Super Silent Auction" followed by 11 live auction items. Celebrity auctioneer Kevin Patterson and emcee Craig Eliot were so enthusiastic that Eliot, former TV personality-turned-financial adviser, got caught up in the action and snared a week's stay at the mountain ranch of Art and Kathleen Nutter. Patterson teased that a financial adviser would know a good deal when he heard it.

Judy McCarty was the lucky woman who took home a tiny handful of Yorkshire terrier. The 10-week-old AKC puppy, who could weigh a whole 4 pounds when he grows up, was donated by breeders Dawn and Tim Rickert.

Martin Nussbaum's calendar is already full for the weekend of Sept. 5-7. He'll be at Notre Dame watching the Fighting Irish play the Michigan Wolverines, a football weekend donation of Joe and Ann Reich.

Jane Gorab chaired the gala, which raised an estimated $234,000 for programs including Family Immigration Services, Life Connections and Marian House programs that include the soup kitchen.

Featured family Karen and Scott Kleine told how they learned firsthand how important the work of Catholic Charities and its coordination with the area's other agencies has been to so many. It took a village and the village put this family on the road to recovery.

Scott's landscaping business collapsed. Peak Vista referred them to Marian House for a meal where they were referred to Interfaith Hospitality Network, where member churches gave them shelter. IHN member First Lutheran Church helped with a job. Karen found one too. Next referral, Habitat for Humanity, and the Kleines and their kids are homeowners.