SACO – They call it “The Painting of a Home, Without a Home.”

It’s not particularly valuable. In its five-year existence, it has never once hung on someone’s wall. Nonetheless, on five occasions owners have successfully sold the painting at auction, for the benefit of children.

This weekend, for the sixth time in five years, the painting will go to auction again.

The Southern Maine Garden Tractor Club will auction off the painting at 1 p.m. Sunday as part of its annual tractor pull and auction fundraiser. All of the proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine, a nonprofit that grants wishes to young children with life-threatening illnesses.

Mike Timmons, who originally bought the painting in Pennsylvania in 2006 and will bid on it this weekend, said he hopes to see it back on the auction block again next year.

“Absolutely,” said Timmons, 68, a teacher at Windham High School. “I would like to keep the tradition going.”

Timmons bought the painting at auction in late 2006, shortly after a shooting at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pa., claimed the lives of five Amish schoolchildren and seriously wounded five others.

Timmons, who has Amish friends, went to the auction to help support the families who had been affected by the tragedy. For $150, he bought the modest painting, which depicts a white Victorian home surrounded by pink early-morning fog.

At the base of the painting is a message: “But the path of the just is a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

“Their community was trying to take care of one another,” Timmons said this week. “It was the least I could do.”

Timmons brought the painting back to Maine and sold it at a Windham High School auction to benefit some of the students. One of his longtime friends, Ernie Lowell, bought it.

Around the same time, Lowell conceived of the Southern Maine Garden Tractor Club’s tractor pull to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In hopes of contributing to the fundraiser, he put the painting up for auction at the event, and a couple from Waterville bought it.

Each year since, at the Cumberland County Fair or the Southern Maine Garden Tractor Club’s auction, the painting has been sold again, always for $85 to $150. Sometimes, the owners have returned the painting — without warning — on the day of the auction.

It has become a tradition of sorts. Lowell’s wife, Sharon, was the highest bidder last year.

The tractor pull and auction, now in their fourth year, have grown. In their first year, the Lowells hosted seven Make-A-Wish children and raised $1,400. Last year, they hosted more than a dozen Make-A-Wish children and raised $9,000.

This year, they’re expecting 400 to 500 people, including 18 Make-A-Wish children. There will be a barbecue, the tractor pull, live music and the world’s largest firetruck, donated by Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham. Every child will get to participate in the tractor pull, and they all will win 2-foot-tall trophies.

A few people at the event will have their eyes on the painting, whose official name is unknown, but which has helped not only the Amish children it was intended to help but children in Maine.

“It’s built quite a story behind it,” Ernie Lowell said. “I hope this year isn’t the last chapter.”

Staff Writer Jason Singer can be reached at 791-6437 or at:

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