Crusade total here: $206,731
Getting wet seemed a common occurrence for many firefighters during this year’s WHAS Crusade for Children, the 50th annual, as rain fell during roadblocks set up the past few weeks to collect money. But they didn’t let a little thing like bad weather keep them from collecting $6,307,583.
The grand total for the past 50 years reached the $100 million mark.
Fourteen fire departments and an individual delivered $206,731.73 to WHAS’s ‘remote’ site at the Old Capitol Centre. Some of those departments were met with a heavy rain shower.
The newly-opened Super 8 hotel just north of the shopping center invited the crew to relocate under its canopy to finish collecting the firefighters’ bounty.
‘It was great,’ said Donnie Allen, a firefighter who works in the operations department of WHAS and is supervisor over master control there.
Super 8 employees provided towels and coffee. What was nicer, ‘They also had the Crusade (telecast) on inside,’ Allen said.
Members of the Lanesville Volunteer Fire Dept. benefited from the canopy. (Rain shouldn’t have bothered them: the day before they were involved in a water fight with Franklin Township Trustee Bill Lyskowinski.)
Chief Rick Burton said their donation, $14,447.77, ‘superseded’ all previous years for the department. The department collected $200 in the name of one of their members who is stationed in Iraq.
‘We talked to him on the phone (Saturday),’ Burton said.
Lanesville firefighters also sent get-well wishes to Cecil Garmon, chief of the Heth Township VFD.
Stanley Coffman, a member of the Heth department, said Sunday that Garmon was in Jewish Hospital in Louisville, hopefully watching them on TV as they donated $6,709.79.
Heth’s dollars, collected at roadblocks, were up about $200 to $300 over last year.
New Middletown firefighters were pleased with their $4,251.57. They had set a goal of $4,000.
‘It was fun watching them,’ Allen said of New Middletown. ‘They were so excited that their amount was up … That’s what I like about (working the Crusade).’
Two departments ‘ Palmyra and Ramsey ‘ were called to a house fire Saturday while they had roadblocks set up in Palmyra and New Salisbury and were collecting door-to-door.
Palmyra still managed to turn in $11,293.16, and Ramsey had $12,645.05. Both departments were assisted by others: a Cub Scout troop helped Palmyra; the Greenbrier 4-H club worked with Ramsey VFD.
In addition to roadblocks and door-to-door collections, Ramsey had a raffle and placed collection jars at businesses. They split the proceeds of a yard sale between the Crusade and the Harrison County Relay for Life.
Other departments and their totals at the Corydon remote are:
Lafayette Township (Floyds Knobs), $55,816.82;
Corydon and Harrison Township combined, $17,641.38;
Greenville Township, $15,557.25;
Leavenworth (with a recently-acquired truck), $9,128.05;
Marengo-Liberty, $9,737, and
Boone Township, $3,170.30.
Holly Cunningham of Corydon, who always collects on her own, turned in $5,000, Allen said.
Milltown VFD, which takes its donations to WHAS-TV in Louisville, raised $5,239.01, said Chief Terry Stroud. They were first in line again this year, he said. The money was collected at roadblocks and door-to-door.
This was the third year that Allen has set up a remote in Corydon.
‘It works out real well,’ he said, especially in saving time for firefighters who can spend hours waiting in line at the WHAS-TV station in Louisville to drop off donations.
Some fire departments in Meade County have already expressed an interest in coming to the Corydon site?
Donny Dynamite and the Dynamos of Louisville provided live music at the Corydon location. ‘It was kind of a last-minute deal,’ Allen said of the group’s volunteering to play. He hopes next year to promote the remote site prior to Crusade weekend so more people will come enjoy the entertainment and watch the firefighters turn in their collections.
The 50th Crusade celebration included entertainment Saturday night in Louisville. At the Kentucky Center, Lance Burton, the Neville Brothers and Kenny Rogers entertained people who paid $20 each to help defray expenses.
Rogers was on the stage about an hour, performing 14 of his hits. At the end of his show, he made a $1,000 contribution to the Crusade.
The Crusade telethon began as a fund-raiser for cancer in 1951. In 1954, the program was expanded to raise money to help improve the lives of children in Southern Indiana and Kentucky.
Individuals, businesses, employee groups, churches, clubs and wills provide considerable funds to the Crusade, but firefighters are the most notable Crusaders. They became heavily involved after the Pleasure Ridge Park (PRP) firefighters turned in $400 that first year and challenged other fire departments to match their donation.
This year, the Crusade established an endowment fund through the selling of dedication bricks.
Allen said he was ‘tickled to death’ with this year’s Crusade results.
‘The money today pays off tomorrow and 10 years from now,’ he said. ‘Every penny people gives helps a child … ‘