Donations have kept growing since the conclusion of the March 28 Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon for the Highland County Society of Children and Adults to the point that the total has now surpassed $102,000.
Rocky Coss, the Highland County Common Pleas judge and Hillsboro Rotarian who leads Rotary’s fundraising drive for the event, said Thursday in an email, “We have been receiving additional donations since last Friday and have been reviewing our donor excel spreadsheet and discovered a couple of donations announced were not in the total last Wednesday.”
He added, “Also, the Chili Challenge total increased to $2,335. Based upon the report received from Charlie Guarino, a former Rotarian who still works the event every year, the ‘final’ total of pledges received is $102,397.42, an increase of over $6,000 since last week.”
The new total far surpasses the $96,328 raised last year, and is closer to the $103,964 raised in 2015 and the $105,866 raised in 2016. The total includes funds raised in Hillsboro and Greenfield, along with auction items and the Heartland Chili Challenge.
The first-ever radio-telethon for the Society in 1973 raised $1,715. The event’s best years were a three-year span from 2006-08 when more than $200,000 was raised annually. The closure of DHL in Wilmington and the overall financial crisis in 2008-09 had a noticeable impact on support for the radio-telethon.
Coss was appreciative of the additional funds that rolled in since last week, saying, “This exceeded our expectations but all of the funds are needed as the Society has been using reserve funds the past two years.”
Under the direction of Gayle Coss, the Society assists Highland County residents with medical expenses, including helping pay for prescriptions, purchasing medical equipment, providing transportation, or even building wheelchair ramps. The radio-telethon is a major annual project of the Rotary Clubs of Hillsboro and Greenfield.