It’s that time of year again. On Wednesday, March 30, the Rotary Clubs of Hillsboro and Greenfield will host the 44th annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults.
It will be broadcast live from 6-9:15 p.m. from the Merchants National Bank main office in Hillsboro on the local Time Warner community access channel, and on WSRW 101.5 FM and WSRW AM 1590. In Greenfield, the event will be broadcast from 6-9 p.m. from the McClain High School Media Room on the Time Warner community access channel along with periodic broadcasts on WVNU FM 97.5.
The two Rotary Clubs raised almost $104,000 during the 2015 event, all of which is used by the society to provide assistance and services to Highland County children and adults who have extraordinary expenses for necessary medical treatment, transportation, equipment and other health care devices. It works in conjunction with other local government and private agencies to provide financial assistance to Highland County residents who have medical expenses not covered by insurance or other programs.
The society is a unique organization. It was originally established as a local branch of the Easter Seal Society in 1950. Rotary Club members were involved in the founding of the organization and numerous Rotarians have served on its board of trustees. In 1983, with support of the two Rotary Clubs, the board of trustees decided to become an independent countywide organization because approximately 38 percent of its revenue was being paid to the national Easter Seal Society for advertising and other national expenses, telethon organizers said in a news release.
“The board felt that it should use as much of the donations as possible for direct benefit of county residents. Over the past several years, administrative costs have averaged approximately 8 percent of the annual budget, which is extremely low for non-profit charitable groups. Many local health providers work closely with the society and provide services at a reduced cost to the patients receiving financial assistance,” the news release said.
The first radio-telethon was held in 1973 at the former Hillsboro Bank office in Hillsboro and raised $1,715. During the past 43 years, the two Rotary Clubs have raised over $3 million for the society. Almost all of the society’s funds are raised through this event. The society has seen an increase in financial need for medical expenses by many local families in the past three years, and anticipates this will continue, according to the release.
Many school classes, youth groups and other local service groups will be conducting fundraising activities for the society and will have representatives present during the evening to present the proceeds to the society. Any local group or business is welcome to make their presentation in person on the air.
This year Herb Day will again join Hillsboro Rotary Club President Rick Williams as a co-host of the event. The first hour of the broadcast in Hillsboro will feature students from county schools and youth organizations who have raised funds for the event.
The Hillsboro portion of the radio-telethon will be live streamed on the internet thanks to Terry Mikkelsen, who has provided the camera and technology services for the local community access station broadcast for the past several years, assisted by Ron Hennison Jr., the news release said. Persons who wish to watch the live stream on the web can do so by logging on at www.tech-t.com/telethon.
From 6-9:15 p.m., Rotarians will take pledges by telephone or in person for those who come to the bank during the broadcast. Pledges can be made during the telethon by calling 393-1993. Any donation, no matter the amount, will be appreciated. Checks can be dropped off at any local bank or mailed to the society at P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.