Nearly $95,000 was raised Wednesday night by generous donors ranging from students to families to civic organizations to local businesses in support of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
The 46th annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon in support of the Society was held at NCB Bank in Hillsboro and McClain High School in Greenfield, and donations began arriving at 6 p.m. until the event ended three hours later.
Wednesday’s total of $94,577 — including pledges and donations in Hillsboro and Greenfield, as well as auction items — was just short of the total raised last year, but it still represents an impressive fundraising effort in a small rural county for a unique local organization, which assists county residents with the costs of medical needs.
The event is a joint project of the Rotary clubs of Hillsboro and Greenfield. Rick Williams and Herb Day again served as emcees. Rocky Coss, the local common pleas judge and a Rotarian, is the driving force behind the event since Blankenship’s passing. His wife, Gayle, is the Society director. As they do annually, members of Blankenship’s family were on hand Wednesday to kick-off the event.
Patrick “P.J.” Norton and Emily Davis served as co-poster children for this year’s event, the third time for Emily. P.J. was unable to attend the radio-telethon, but a big wagon of toys donated by the local Eagles organization and a huge stuffed bunny will be shared between the two.
The first radio-telethon was held in 1973 at the former Hillsboro Bank office in Hillsboro and raised $1,715, according to a press release from the Society. During the past 44 years, the two Rotary Clubs have raised nearly $3.5 million for the Society.
Almost all of the Society’s funds are raised through this event. The Society has seen an increase in financial need for medical expenses by many local families in the past three years, and officials say they anticipate this will continue.
The funds that are raised as used by the Society to provide assistance and services to the Highland County children and adults who have extraordinary expenses for necessary medical treatment, transportation, equipment and other health care devices.
The Society works in conjunction with other local government and private agencies to provide financial assistance to Highland County residents who have medical expenses not covered by insurance or other programs, according to information provided by the organization.
Check back Thursday at timesgazette.com and Friday’s print edition for more photos and details from Wednesday’s radio-telethon.