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Crusade weekend draws near

The 2016 WHAS Crusade for Children will take place June 4 and 5, but many volunteers have been busy collecting money since last year’s event for the organization that helps improve the lives of children in Southern Indiana and Kentucky.
This weekend, firefighters from several departments will be visible seeking donations, with many of them set up at roadblocks. The Milltown Volunteer Fire Dept. will have a yard sale at its firehouse Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Donnie Allen, a former WHAS employee who handles the Crusade’s remote location at the Old Capitol Centre in Corydon, spoke at the Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association’s meeting last month. He reported that nearly $300,000 was submitted at the Corydon site last year. More than $100,000 of it came from Harrison County fire departments and one motorcycle group.
‘Gentlemen, that’s a sizeable chunk of change,’ he said. ‘Every year it tickles me to death to have that site up there and collect the money. I know it’s a lot of hard work.’
Tony Combs, president of the fire chiefs’ group, said the local departments appreciate the site because it reduces the amount of time firefighters are out of their districts to make their donations.
John Blim, vice president of donor relations for the Crusade, who attended the meeting with Allen, shared the history of the Crusade, which first took place in 1954, and a video that told how fire departments ‘ about 200 of them ‘ raise about 60 percent of each year’s donations.
Fire departments became involved after Louisville’s Pleasure Ridge Park Fire District first participated in 1956 and challenged other firefighters to make a donation.
To date, the Crusade has raised more than $165 million. Since an endowment fund was created several years ago for the Crusade, 100 percent of all donations goes to aiding children.
‘The Crusade is America’s most successful telethon,’ Blim said. ‘We can’t do it without you.’
Blim and Allen also revealed a new design for this year’s Crusade, which reflects the organiztion’s ties with firefighters.
Allen said the remote site will be set up on Sunday, June 5, at the Old Capitol Centre to receive Crusade collections by fire departments and any organizations or individuals who have donations. Start time is usually 9 a.m.