The executive secretary of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults said Tuesday that more than 650 people were helped by the society with their medical needs during the most recent fiscal year, and its mission of “local people helping local people” makes the organization unique.
Gayle Coss, who has served 12 years as executive secretary for the society, told Hillsboro Rotarians that it is “an honor to be in this position,” adding that it is the only organization of its kind in the United States, with all funds raised locally and used to help local people.
Also visiting Rotary on Tuesday was this year’s poster child, 6-year-old Gracin Murarescu, along with his mother and grandmother. Like an approximate 6,000 babies born every year in the United States, the youngster from Lynchburg was born with Down Syndrome, and the society has assisted the family with its medical needs.
Coss spoke Tuesday in anticipation of next week’s annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon that supports the society. Before his passing, Blankenship was the driving force behind the event, which is put on by the Rotary Clubs of Hillsboro and Greenfield.
The radio-telethon will be broadcast live this year from US Bank in Hillsboro from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 29 on the local community access television channel, and on WSRW 101.5 FM and WSRW AM 1590. In Greenfield, it will be broadcast from 6-9 p.m. from the McClain High School Media Room on the community access channel and on WVNU FM 97.5.
Coss said that during the most recent fiscal year, the society took 633 calls and helped 657 people with 608 separate items. She said the society spent $157,000 – $24,000 more than it raised.
“So we have some reserves, but we need to build that back up,” she said. The annual radio-telethon has raised about $3.5 million since its inception in 1973.
Rotarians will take pledges by telephone or in person for those who come to the bank during the broadcast. Pledges can be made during the telethon by calling 937-393-5701. Checks can be dropped off at any local bank or mailed to the society at P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at [email protected].