A year after it was a virtual only event for the first time in 48 years, plans are underway for the 49th annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon with the hopes of this itbeing both virtual and in-person. Conducted by the Hillsboro and Greenfield Rotary clubs for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, the radio-telethon has been scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, June 23 at the Hillsboro Orpheum.
The event was delayed due to COVID-19 concerns from its traditional last Wednesday of March date.
The event will be broadcast live on the local community access channel 13 of the Spectrum Cable System, on WSRW 101.5 FM, WSRW AM 1590, iHeart radio, WVNU Radio 97.5 FM and will be livestreamed via the society’s website — hicoso.org — and on tech-t.com’s website. Terry Mikkleson, owner of tech-t.com will again provide the equipment for the broadcast.
Hosting the event will be Hillsboro Rotarian Rick Williams, Greenfield Rotarian Ron Coffey, and longtime local radio personality Herb Day. The 2021 event is being hosted for the first time by Southern Hills Community Bank and its employees.
At this time, the committee plans for the event to be both virtual and in-person depending on Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines in effect the week prior to the event. Persons planning to attend will be asked to observe social distancing guidelines and to wear masks, particularly if they have not been vaccinated.
The two Rotary Clubs raised just under $100,000 during the 2020 event, all of which is used by the society to provide assistance and services to Highland County children and adults who have extraordinary expenses for necessary medical treatment, transportation, equipment and other health care devices. It 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 event organizer Rocky Coss.
The society is a unique organization. It was originally established as a local branch of the Easter Seal Society in 1950. Rotary Club members were involved in the founding of the organization and numerous Rotarians have served on its board of trustees. In 1983, with support of the two Rotary clubs, the board of trustees decided to become an independent countywide organization because approximately 38 percent of its revenue was being paid to the national Easter Seal Society for advertising and other national expenses.
Rotarians will take pledges by telephone or in person for those who come to the Orpheum during the broadcast. Pledges can be made during the telethon by calling 937-402-5557. Any donation, no matter the amount, will be appreciated. Checks payable to HCCSA can be dropped off at any local bank or mailed to the society at P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.