The 48th annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon, held virtually this year, raised over $90,000 on Wednesday night.
As of Thursday afternoon, the radio-telethon had received $91,160 in pledges via mail, online and video pledges. Donors were also able to drop off their pledges at the First State Bank Hillsboro branch’s drive-thru.
This year’s silent auction items included a French Lick Resort overnight package with a round of golf for two, which sold for $400; a signed Archie Griffin jersey, which sold for $750; Jimmy Buffett concert tickets, which sold for $500; Barenaked Lady concert tickets, which sold for $100; and a replica Heisman trophy signed by Archie Griffin, which sold for $1,900.
When First State Bank President and CEO Mike Pell announced that the bank was the highest bidder on the replica Heisman trophy, Pell invited Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss, now the radio-telethon’s primary organizer, to the stage.
“Those of you who were able to watch Archie Griffin knew he was the workhorse of the Buckeyes many years ago,” Pell said. “Our bank would like to say thanks to the workhorse who has been in this organization for 40-plus years. What I’d like to do at this point in time is present Rocky and Gayle Coss with the replica of the Archie Griffin Heisman trophy.”
In an email to The Times-Gazette, Coss thanked everyone who donated this year.
Those who missed the live event can still donate. Coss said there is no deadline for donations. To donate, visit hicoso.org, or send a check payable to: HCSCA, P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
This year’s radio-telethon was originally scheduled for March 25, but HCSCA was forced to postpone due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Rotary clubs felt it was necessary to proceed with the event now as it is unclear when larger social gatherings will be permitted,” said Coss said in a previous interview. “First State Bank, Dale Martin, owner of the Hillsboro Orpheum, and Spectrum had been extremely supportive of planning for the event originally scheduled for March 25 and it is important to recognize and thank them for their help in planning the original event and continuing to work with Rotary to make this event happen.”
This year’s radio-telethon was broadcast live from the Hillsboro Orpheum on the Spectrum Community Access TV Channel in Hillsboro, WSRW Radio 1590 AM and 101.5 FM, and WVNU Radio 97.5 FM. Facebook users were also able to watch the event live on the Highland County Society for Children and Adult’s Facebook page, where it can still be found.
First State Bank hosted this year’s radio-telethon with Hillsboro emcees Rick Williams and Herb Day and Greenfield Rotary Club representative Ron Coffey.
This year’s poster child, 8-year-old Elisha Duncan, was not present.
“She’s kind of getting short-changed since she doesn’t get to participate in all the traditional stuff,” said Coss in a previous interview.
Since the telethon’s inception in 1973, it has raised over $3 million for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults (HCSCA), which provides help with medical expenses that Highland County residents otherwise might not be able to afford.
Though the first radio-telethon, which was hosted at the former Hillsboro Bank office in Hillsboro, raised $1,715, some years it raised over $200,000.
The society has seen an increase in many local families’ financial need for medical expenses in the past three years and anticipates that increase will continue.
For more information, visit hicoso.org.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.