The 49th annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon for the Highland County Society for Children and Adults will return to being a live event this year, according to Jeff Cloud, the president and CEO of Southern Hills Community Bank. Cloud said this came a year after the event was held virtually last year due to the pandemic.
This year’s telethon will be broadcast on WSRW 101.5 FM and 1590 AM and WNVU FM 97.5. Those wishing to make a pledge also can donate online through the organization’s website or call 937-402-5557.
Cloud said the telethon will be held at the Hillsboro Orpheum on Wednesday, June 23 from 7-9 p.m., and that he thinks the telethon will be at the Orpheum every year moving forward.
He said Southern Hills Community Bank will join the rotation of banks that annually host the event.
“It’s a thrill that we get to host it this year and that’s the first time, and really we want to thank (event organizer) Rocky (Coss) and the Greenfield and Hillsboro Rotarys for letting us participate and be a part of it,” Cloud said.
He said the bank will have around 15 to 20 people volunteering at the event and then the Hillsboro and Greenfield Rotary Clubs will have several more. He said he thinks Rotary Club members will be answering the phones.
The bank is also donating prizes to be auctioned. The first of those is a three-night stay at Kiefer’s Smokey Mountains Hideaway in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which Cloud said includes some gift cards from eateries in the area.
Another item is a wall hanging with photos of three former Ohio State University athletes — Archie Griffin, Jerry Lucas and Jack Nicklaus, all autographed by the athletes.
“We actually bought that originally from Jerry Lucas,” Cloud said. “He came in the bank about two years ago… Jerry Lucas came in the bank and he was promoting an educational program and was supporting it with selling these pictures, so we bought it and then we donated it for it to be auctioned off.”
The poster child for the radio-telethon is the same girl as last year, 9-year-old Elisha Duncan. She was born with Down syndrome and following her birth, it was learned she also had a closed intestine and a heart condition.
Duncan’s family spent the first 32 days of her life living in a Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Hospital and when she was 4 months old Duncan had heart surgery.
A year ago the society said it planned to by an iPad with special apps for Duncan so she could communicate better.
“I just know that we have tried to do a lot of things on our own and sometimes things get really tight,” Kim O’Madden, Duncan’s mother, said. “I think it’s really great that we have an organization that is helping families that maybe can’t.”
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.