BETHANY, W.Va. – The ninth annual Light Up Night and Charity Auction at Bethany College raised more than $3,000 for the Brooke County charity Bernie’s Kids.

The Thursday, Dec. 5, event featured the official lighting of the Bethany College Christmas tree and a live auction of 30 Christmas trees, wreaths and baskets decorated by student groups. Cain Auctioneers of Steubenville, Ohio, volunteered to call the auction.

Bernie’s Kids is a nonprofit organization that provides gifts to needy children across Brooke County. The organization is named in honor of Bernie Kazienko, a former Brooke County sheriff and commissioner who died of cancer in 2011.

The Brooke County Sheriff’s Office continues the tradition in Kazienko’s memory. Detective Gary Conley thanked the more than 200 attendees for their support.

“This really helps us out every year,” he said of Light Up Night. “This is one of our biggest fundraisers and we are really grateful.”

Jerry Stebbins, vice president for student life and dean of students, also thanked those helped make the event a success.

“This is an event that brings the campus together,” he said. “Clubs, Greek organizations, administrative and academic offices, faculty, staff, and students all work together help make the Christmas season a lot brighter in the Ohio Valley. Bethany College and its students are making a positive impact right here in Brooke County.”

The Office of Student Life received the highest bid of the night, earning $400 for its Pittsburgh sports-themed tree featuring numerous Steelers items and tickets to an upcoming Penguins game. Two others – a campfire-themed tree by Phi Mu sorority and a nostalgia tree by the Business and Accounting Club – topped $200.

The event also featured the official lighting of Bethany’s Christmas tree in Commencement Hall.

For photos of the event, click here.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.