For many years I have had the good fortune of being associated with an organization that has helped countless people in and around southern Ohio. This organization is a project taken on by the Hillsboro and Greenfield Rotary clubs some 47 years ago to assist those with unique medical needs whose, in many cases, financial means to fulfill those needs fall short. I am speaking of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
You may have already heard the story, but it all began as a local branch of the Easter Seals Society back in 1950, but by the early 1980s it was decided that the branch would become independent from the Easter Seals organization as nearly 40-percent of the local revenue was being paid to the national organization for advertising and other administrative expenses. Thus, the birth of what is now known as the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
Many people have worked tirelessly through the years to make the HCSCA successful both behind the scenes and in the spotlight, not the least of which was Ernie Blankenship, who along with throngs of Rotarians as well as non-Rotarians, proudly waved the banner to raise financial support for the organization since its inception. Sadly, Ernie passed away in September of 2013, but left a body of work behind that many now scramble each year to equal.
The HCSCA works in conjunction with local government and other private agencies to provide financial assistance to Highland County residents who have medical expenses not covered by insurance or other programs. Some of these are expensive have included necessary medical treatment, transportation, equipment and other health care devices.
Many of us who have worked on the publicity for the society have remarked many times that “for the grace of God, there go I,” driving home the point that you never know when our fortunes might turn, and we would need assistance from the HCSCA. For my family, that became reality twice since 2000.
My nephew, Jim Garrett, whose health issues became many through the years, found it imperative that he receive assistance for some of his needs. In fact, Jim served as an adult poster child for the society’s annual fundraiser in the early part of the 2000s just prior to his passing at age 35.
Next, our granddaughter, Emily Davis, whose medical issues have been a part of her life since birth, has received assistance from the society on numerous occasions, and she has served as poster child several times in recent years, including this year. Emily’s condition (which I can’t even spell much less pronounce) led doctors to state that she wouldn’t make it beyond the age of 5. I am quite happy to announce that as of yesterday (March 25) Emily celebrated her 13th birthday!
When asked what she wanted for her birthday, she stated that she wanted people who planned to get her gifts to donate to the Highland County Society for Children and Adults instead. I don’t know about you, but I want to be just like Emily when I grow up.
The 47th annual radio-telethon takes place March 27 from the uptown lobby of Merchants National Bank in Hillsboro from 6:30 until 9 p.m. Rotarian Rick Williams and I will again host the event on WSRW 101.5 FM and AM 1590 as well as on the local Spectrum Television channel in the Hillsboro area. Watch, listen or visit with us live, but most importantly, please give what you can.
Think about it. Maybe not now, but perhaps somewhere down the road, you or someone you love may need assistance from the HCSCA, and you’ll be glad it’s there. My family was certainly glad it was there when we needed it.
But for the grace of God, there go I.
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at www.HerbDayVoices.com.