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<BR>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Surprise donation helps local family reach their spring break goal


   For some time, a Prineville family has been working to raise money to pay for their trip to where they will work to make improvments to an Albanian orphanage. Recently, the student council at the Crook County Christian School voted unanimously to donate the proceeds of the school's cookie sale fund raiser to that effort.
   The vote was taken long before the fund raising effort ended and nearly everybody at the school knew of the plan ... except for the Mike Wendel family. School Principal Sue Uptain said everyone, including all but two of the students, was told about the donation.
   Uptain explained that when the cookie sale was announced in classes where the two Wendel children were students, the Wendel kids were sent to the office to "make copies of some papers."
   Uptain said the other students kept the secret. When all the cookies had been sold and nearly $2,000 raised, the funds were presented at a student assembly. Mike Wendel, who works for ODOT, was asked to attend the special weekly assembly with his wife, Tina Wendel, who works at the school. Neither had any forewarning of what was to happen when they were asked to come to the podium. The check was a welcome, and Tina Wendel said, timely surprise.
   "Mike had found a special fare on the Internet and he had asked that the tickets be held. It was agreed that they would be held at the good price for a day or two. We didn't know where the money would come from, and here it is," she explained tearfully to the gathered student body.
   The Wendels are holding a series of fundraisers to help pay for the trip, which will be their second. Last year the Wendels and their two children spent time making repairs to the orphans home and want to return to continue the work. An evening dinner and a movie event held recently proved fairly popular and a second, a taco feed, is planned for the near future.
   Anyone wishing to help the Wendels meet their goal, or get more information on their planned trip, can call the school at 416-0114.