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Fire departments see record Crusade dollars

Fire departments see record Crusade dollars
Fire departments see record Crusade dollars
Steve Simpson (with black binder), spokesperson for the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept., talks with WHAS meteorologist Alden German at the Old Capitol Centre in Corydon about the department’s WHAS Crusade for Children fund-raising efforts. A pop-up tent helped keep off Sunday morning’s light drizzle that later gave way to sunny skies. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

Several of Harrison County’s nine fire departments reported record numbers for their collection efforts of the 68th annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethon that concluded Sunday.

Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. turned in $33,254.46 at the Old Capitol Centre in Corydon. J.R. Heinz said that was an “all time record” for the department that collects donations at the town’s four-way intersection. It tops the department’s previous record amount of $31,200.46, collected in 2019.

Harrison Township Fire Dept. set an “all-time high” amount of $26,812. In addition to collecting at roadblocks, the department had a fish fry earlier this year as a Crusade fundraiser.

The third highest amount turned in by a Harrison County fire department was from Lanesville VFD. Assistant fire chief Tony Combs said they collected $20,528.67 by going door to door in the community, from roadblocks, donations from churches and a collection box at the Lanesville Food Mart.

“People seemed to be more generous this year. In the past, we had a lot of change and $1 bills,” Combs said. “This year, there were a lot of $5, $10 and $20.”

With Lanesville schools hosting ball tournaments during Crusade collection time, the fire department also benefited from out-of-towners contributing.

New Middletown Fire Chief Mike Riley said his department broke its record with an amount of $9,523.75, from just three days of roadblocks at the four-way in New Middletown.

The Crusade benefits children in Southern Indiana and Kentucky, like Ramsey firefighter Justin Byerly’s son, who spent time at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville relying on equipment purchased with Crusade dollars.

Byerly said it was “a humbling experience” to see that life-saving equipment helping his son.

Aaron Simpson, who is now a captain with the Palmyra VFD, also benefited from Crusade-purchased equipment as a baby.

Ramsey turned in $14,854.52 on Sunday, thanks to door-to-door collections and online donations, said Elley Meek, while Palmyra had $11,011.05, up from last year, reported Steve Simpson.

The Wilkins Crusaders of Leavenworth showed up with $7,442 and change, up considerably from last year’s amount of $5,723. The family of the late Darren W. Wilkins set up a lemonade stand again this year, but the day selected was so unseasonably cold they could hardly give away the lemonade.

Heth Township VFD added a new fundraiser this year, in addition to setting up roadblocks. It hosted a motorcycle “bucket ride.” The department’s efforts netted $11,632.50.

Boone Township also had an increase in donations, with a total of $9,653. The department was down last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, turning in $3,053.86, but it also beat its previous year’s amount of $5,464.56.

Still traveling to Louisville to make its donations was the Milltown VFD. It turned in $19,400. The department collected $16,285 in 2020.

Money collected by Harrison County’s nine fire departments accounted for $156,669.95 of the Crusade’s $5.1 million.

Several out-of-area departments, along with Chicago City Pizza in New Albany also made their donations at the Old Capitol Centre.