‘Community’ credited with Crusade success
Money collected by Harrison County’s nine fire departments accounted for $135,422.27 of the 66th annual WHAS Crusade for Children’s nearly $5.7 million.
All of those departments, with the exception of Milltown, turned their donations in Sunday at the Old Capitol Centre in Corydon. Milltown traditionally is the first fire department in line on Sunday morning at the TV station in Louisville to submit its collection, which this year totaled $20,200.83.
In Corydon, members of the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. were excited to turn in a department all-time record amount of $31,200.46. Last year, the department collected $24,668.07.
‘It’s the community,’ Scott Hutt, the fire chief, said. ‘One hundred and ten percent the community.
‘That’s from our roadblock on Friday, Saturday and couple of hours on Sunday,’ he said. ‘There’s no casino dollars.’
The Crusade benefits children in Southern Indiana and Kentucky, like Elizabeth firefighter Matt Marion’s twin boys, Maddox and Mason, who celebrated their eighth birthday Saturday. They were born at 28 weeks and spent time at Kosair Children’s Hospital (now Norton Children’s) in Louisville relying on equipment purchased with Crusade dollars.
‘We thought we were going to be down this year,’ Marion said of their fund-raising efforts. ‘Everybody in the community pitched in,’ including Arty Lillpop, who donated $600 from grilled food sold on Memorial Day in Elizabeth.
This was the 64th consecutive year for the Elizabeth VFD to participate in the Crusade.
While money ‘ bills or coins ‘ is the norm found in Crusade collection buckets, the Palmyra VFD, which turned in $9,739.69, found a wedding band when counting money Saturday. The owner can contact the fire department to identify it and get it back.
Palmyra’s total was down slightly (last year’s amount was $9,855.39), but firefighters said they made ‘a lot of runs’ Saturday which took away from their roadblock time. They had hosted a cornhole tournament earlier in the year with profits going to the Crusade.
Some fire departments, like Harrison Township, were given donations minutes before making their submission. The last amount given was $80-some in change, which they spread out and counted on the front of its ladder truck. The final total was $25,567.12, which came from roadblocks, door to door, two different chicken dinners and a pancake breakfast.
The biggest last-minute change was by the Lafayette Township Fire Protection District. Fire chief Jeremy Klein stepped off camera during their donation presentation to make a phone call. When he returned, Donnie Allen, who oversees the remote drop-off site in Corydon, held up a piece of paper upon which was written $8,000. That jumped Lafayette Township’s total to $118,161.
Klein’s voice quivered with emotion as he gave WHAS-TV reporter Hailey Minogue the total.
‘We’re just a little bitty old fire department from Floyds Knobs,’ said Klein, who later, in a Facebook post, thanked his ‘great community’ for their efforts.
‘This is one awesome community, and all of us here at LTFD are extremely proud to be a part of it,’ he went on to say.
Included in Lafayette Township’s donation was $10,614 from Stephen Becht, who has collected for the Crusade for 51 years.
A friendly rivalry between Lanesville VFD and Georgetown Township FD appears to be brewing, as Tony Combs, now assistant chief at Lanesville, joked that Georgetown Township has been going door to door in Peppermill Ridge subdivision, which is in Lanesville’s territory.
From roadblocks, churches, door to door and a collection jar at the Lanesville Food Mart, Combs said they collected $14,720.90.
Combs hopes to get the newly-opened Dollar General store in Lanesville to participate next year.
It’s not just the grown-ups who collect for the Crusade. This year, 8-year-old Ashtyn Riley, daughter of New Middletown VFD fire chief Mike Riley, and 7-year-old Brinlee Luther set up a lemonade stand and offered cookies. Riley said the girls got a late start but plan to do it again next year.
The department’s total of $9,274.30 also included $480 from the New Middletown Lions Club’s pancake breakfast. Last year, NMVFD submitted $8,723.20.
Riley said they found a key in one of their collection buckets; it’s at the firehouse if the owner wants it.
Other Southern Indiana fire departments/groups turning in Crusade money in Corydon (and the amount) were Georgetown Township FD ($30,138.39), Ramsey VFD ($11,867.24), Heth Township VFD ($7,405), Pierce-Polk VFD ($7,105.27), Wilkins Crusaders of Leavenworth ($5,554), Boone Township VFD ($5,464.56) and Washington County’s Posey Township VFD ($2,683.90).
Traveling across the Ohio River to Corydon to drop off their collections were Flaherty FD ($17,776.38), Payneville VFD ($11,118.03), Ekron VFD ($8,774.56) and Meade County VFD ($4,290.77).