Whether it was seeing kids stuck in the hospital during the holidays or the community spirit she found in Highland County, Vickie Coomer is not sure. But somewhere along the line she decided she wanted to help people, so she started holding a benefit event for the Children’s Miracle Network.
She has organized the event for about 17 of the past 18 years, but says the one planned for Saturday, May 19 on the grounds of the former Webster school in Hillsboro will be the last.
The event was not held last year, Coomer said, because her mother was ill and ended up passing away on May 22.
“I believe in the cause, it’s just too much for me to handle by myself,” Coomer said.
Established in 1983, the Children’s Miracle Network raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and health care services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.
It was at one of the Children’s Miracle Network members, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, that Coomer realized she would like to help kids.
“My daughter was in Children’s when she was 4 and it made me feel sad. Here it was Christmastime and kids were laying in bed and they didn’t even have a TV,” Coomer said. “They took good care of my daughter and I think the Children’s Miracle Network is a good cause.”
A longtime employee of the Speedway station in Hillsboro, Coomer grew up and Franklin, Ohio and said she doesn’t remember people there helping others like they do in Highland County.
“When I saw the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, I couldn’t believe that the community does that for each other,” she said.
So, since her employer promotes raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network, Coomer decided to hold an event of her own. She said that for a while she got help organizing the event from a former manager at Speedway, but now she organizes it on her own, with help from friends and community donations.
Two years ago, Coomer said, her event raised close to $3,000 and one of her early events, which included a golf tournament, raised almost $10,000.
She said she raises the money and donates it to Speedway, which passes it all on to the Children’s Miracle Network.
The May 19 event will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will continue until around 2 or 3 p.m. There will be a pet contest, cupcake eating contest, and a dunking booth that Coomer said Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera, Hillsboro Police Chief Darrin Goudy and Hillsboro City councilmen Justin Harsha and Brandon Leeth have agreed to sit on. There will be kids games; hot dogs and drinks available for a donation to the Miracle Network; a raffle for 30 to 40 items like a flat screen TV, computer, iPad, smoker grill, assorted gifts cards and more, with all the items donated by local businesses; and the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District will have a fire truck there to view.
The cupcake eating contest will start at 11:30 a.m. and the winner will be whoever eats the most cupcakes in five minutes. The pet contest winner will be announced at noon and the raffle drawing will start at 12:30 p.m.
“I wouldn’t be able to do this without help from everyone. The people in this area are very gracious for helping people,” Coomer said. “Come on out and have some fun and help a great cause.”
Anyone wanting more details or to donate an item can contact Coomer at Speedway during the day or at 937-393-6963.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.