Congratulations to Monroe Township Fire Department, Northeast Nelson County Fire Protection District, Highview Fire Protection District, Cub Run Fire Department and Cross County Distributing for the highest percentage increases in donations to the WHAS Crusade for Children from 2016 to 2017.
This year, thanks to firefighters, businesses and the good people of Kentucky and Indiana the WHAS Crusade for Children raised $5.5 million. Today, fire crews and one business are being recognized for showing the largest percentage increase in their totals for the 2017 Crusade. These awards are called the Walton Awards and the Phyllis Knight Award. Both are named for pioneering TV hosts and former Crusade directors, Jim Walton and Phyllis Knight.
The Jim Walton Awards
In the category from $1,000 and $9,999 in donations:
Cub Run Volunteer Fire Department
2016 total: $500.00
2017 total: $1,698.15
Increase of 240%
(Cub Run was unable to attend the ceremony.)
In the category from $10,000 and $49,999 in donations:
Northeast Nelson Fire Department
2016 total: $14,308.13
2017 total: $137,734.97
Increase of 863%
In the category from $50,000 and $99,999 in donations:
Monroe Township Volunteer Fire Department
2016 total: 35,918.64
2017 total: $50,396.16
Increase of 40%
In the category from $100,000 in donations and above:
Highview Fire Proteciton District
2016 total: $106,733.33
2017 total: $261,755.13
Increase of 145%
(Okolona, Buechel & Camp Taylor gave Highview their collections in memory of firefighter Kevin Bayens.)
The Phyllis Knight Award
Each year in honor of former Crusade Executive Director Phyllis Knight, the Knight Award is given to the business or organization with the largest percentage increase in its donation.
This year that award goes to:
Cross Country Distributing
2016 total: $50,052.00
2017 total: $75,177.00
Increase of 50%
We want to point out that Steve Hancock and Cross Country Distributing have raised $948,000 dollars since 1990. That means if they raise $52,000 dollars in the coming year they’ll cross the million dollar mark in donations to the WHAS Crusade for Children.
This is why fire departments do so much
Meet Zoe! She’s a shining example of what a difference your Crusade donations can make in the life of a child.
Fire departments raise nearly 60 percent of the Crusade for Children’s donations each year by staging road blocks and other events.
It all started in 1956 when Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Chief Ernie Bohler stood on stage during the third annual Crusade in a steamy un-air-conditioned Memorial Auditorium and challenged all fire departments to join the cause. The challenge was heard loud and clear.
Click here to see the complete list of fire departments that participate annually in the WHAS Crusade for Children.
Firefighter Rib Cook Off October 7
Don’t miss the Tri-City Van & Storage Yard Sale benefiting the WHAS Crusade for Children.
It’s this weekend Oct 6-7th located at 7th & Industry in Louisville.
Southeast Fire Benefit Car, Bike, and Tractor Show October 7
Charlestown FD Biscuit & Gravy Breakfast October 7
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — He was a fixture on the WHAS Crusade for Children from its beginnings in 1954.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of WHAS-TV and Radio legend, Milton Metz. He died peacefully in Louisville at the age of 95.
Milton became one of this area’s most recognized personalities, first heard on WHAS Radio in 1946. He helped put WHAS-TV on the air. In fact, he was one of the first faces you saw on WHAS-TV in 1950.
Milton just celebrated his 95th birthday in September in rehab. The WHAS Crusade for Children staff brought him a cake. More than 300 viewers mailed get well cards to him after he had fallen and broken his shoulder in the summer and was in recovery last August. He loved every card and letter, and along the way, he always said he was getting wonderful care.
His trailblazing nighttime radio show called “Metz Here” was one of the first nighttime talk shows in the United States. It ran from 1959 to 1993.
He also hosted “Omelet” on WHAS-TV, an interview program that aired before the Noon News on WHAS-TV. He picked Faith Lyles as his co-host.
He retired from 840 WHAS-AM in 1993 but kept doing ads for TV and Radio.
He came to Louisville from Columbus, Ohio and married his beloved wife Mimi whom he met in Louisville. She died last April. He is survived by his son Perry Metz.
Funeral arrangements are pending through the Herman Meyer Funeral Home.
Watch Milton on the 10th annual WHAS Crusade for Children opening in 1963.
Watch Milton’s appearance on the 63rd annual WHAS Crusade for Children in 2016.
Watch a reflection of Milton’s career and life captured by WHAS11 news.
Click here for more coverage from WHAS11.com.
Click here for more coverage from The Courier-Journal.
Click here to hear Milton Metz interview a 20 year-old Muhammad Ali on 840 WHAS when he was still Cassius Clay. It was originally broadcast on WHAS on November 29, 1962.
See highlights of Crusade 63 on social media!
Crusade Wear merchandise still available
You can purchase the shirts, hats and collectibles that you saw on TV over Crusade weekend securely online. Learn more, just click here.
Just days after Louisville legend Muhammad Ali passed away, the people of Kentucky and Indiana dug deep and championed the 63rd annual WHAS Crusade for Children. The final tote board tallied $5,465,933.47 as “The Greatest” local telethon in America came to a close.
The 30-hour Internet/radio/telethon kicked off with an up tempo variety show headlined by Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams’ Jazz Band, hosted by WHAS11’s Rachel Platt and 840 WHAS radio’s Terry Meiners on Saturday, June 4. It all ended with Crusade volunteers crowding into WHAS-TV’s historic studio H singing the traditional “God Bless America” just before 7:00pm (EDT) Sunday, June 5, 2016.
“It truly is an annual miracle. We’re thrilled that the wonderful people of Kentuckiana stepped up once again to help children with special needs in our community by contributing so generously to the 63rd annual WHAS Crusade for Children,” said WHAS Crusade for Children President & CEO Dawn Lee.
100 percent of $170 million for the kids
In its first 63 years, the Crusade has raised over $170 million for children with special needs. One hundred percent of all donations raised Crusade weekend are returned in the form of grants to agencies, schools and hospitals that make life better for children with special needs.
It takes a cast of thousands to stage the annual miracle. From individual donors dropping pocket change into boots at firefighter road blocks to children with lemonade stands to corporations offering payroll deduction, it all comes together each year on the first weekend in June.
Honor your pledge
Mail your donation to:
WHAS Crusade for Children
520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Top 5 Kentucky Fire Departments
New Castle Volunteer Fire & Rescue $311,787.63
Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District $297,555.93
Fern Creek Fire Department $136,144.05
McMahan Fire Protection District $132,055.00
Highview Fire Protection District $105,491.28
Top 5 Indiana Fire Departments
Lafayette Township Fire Department $108,750
Charlestown Volunteer Fire Department $46,600
Monroe Township Fire Department $35,977.89
New Washington Fire Department $27,509
Clarksville Fire Department $26,351.17
Archdiocese of Louisville $301,581
LG&E KU PPL Companies $217,641
Kosair Charities $150,000
Louisville Triple Crown of Running $142,146
Norton Healthcare $125,135
WHAS11 News: Full coverage of Crusade 63
See more, click here.
Courier-Journal: Crusade 63 is the Courier-Journal’s lead story
Read more click here.
News Enterprise: “Area fire depts. raise over $160k for Crusade”
Read more, click here.
WHAS11.com: “WHAS Crusade for Children raises more than $5.4M”
Read more, click here.
Courier-Journal: “WHAS Crusade for Children kicks off Saturday”
Read more, click here.
WBKO-TV: “Renshaw Early Childhood Development Center”
Read more, click here.
840 WHAS Radio: “WHAS Crusade Tops 5-Million”
Read more, click here.
Kentucky.com: “WHAS Crusade telethon raises nearly $5.5M for children”
Read more, click here.
Insider Louisville: “Pass the boot: A brief history of the Crusade for Children”
Read more, click here.
Kentucky Standard: “Crusade gearing up for weekend”
Read more, click here.
The Record: “A record-setting Crusade for Children”
Read more, click here.
Who gave how much?
Here’s an alphabetized list of donations during the 63rd Annual WHAS Crusade for Children.
American Legion Shawnee Post 193 $2,366.22
AMVETS Post 61 $4,400.00
Anchorage Fire & EMS $4,457.09
Anchorage Schools $931.00
Anderson County $7,142.00
Anneta Fire Dept. $4,268.31
Archdiocese of Louisville $301,581.00
Bagdad Fire Dept. $17,119.85
Ballard, Lorne $14,761.50
Ballardsville Fire & Rescue $19,417.00
Baptist Health Unified Campaign $31,205.34
Barr, Dawson $100.00
Bedford VFD $6,958.92
Blim, Clare & Kathleen $435.21
Bonnieville Fire Dept. $11,727.98
Boone Township Volunteer Fire Dept. $4,986.45
Bradsforville Fire Dept. $4,705.97
Breeding Fire Dept. $1,432.49
Buechel Fire Protection District $29,882.12
Camp Taylor Fire Dept. $55,456.58
Campbellsburg Fire & Rescue $8,385.34
Campbellsville / Taylor County Fire Dept. $28,262.42
Carrollton Fire Dept. $12,200.00
Census Bureau $7,827
Central Hardin FD $9,547.48
Charlestown FD $46,600.00
Children’s Calendar Cover Child winner – Sophia Evans
Chiller’s/Zesto’s Ice Cream $2,000.00
Clark, Evelyn $622.05
Clarkson Fire Dept. $5,211.36
Clarksville Fire Dept. $26,351.17
Columbia-Adair County Fire Dept. $26,961.50
Cross Country Distributing $50,052.00
Crusade Ambassadors $2,585.00
Dancensation Spring Fling $1,000.00
Diane Moore Dance Academy and Miracle Dancers $9,400.00
East 60 Volunteer Fire Dept. $12,970.15
East Grayson Fire Dept. $5,491.66
Eastwood Fire Protection District $12,118.20
Ekron Volunteer Fire Dept. $12,650.04
Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. $23,205.48
Elizabethtown Fire Dept. $27,605.96
Eminence Fire Dept. $33,756.34
Fern Creek Fire Dept. $136,144.05
Flaherty Volunteer Fire Dept. $19,664.59
Georgetown Township Fire Protection District $23,777.76
Glendale Fire Dept. $5,202.48
Greater Clark County Schools $28,595.80
Greensburg/Green County Volunteer Fire Dept. $13,417.88
Greenville Township Fire Protection Dept. $23,599.46
Hardinsburg VFD $15,000.00
Harned Fire and Rescue $24,013.13
Harrison Township / Corydon Volunteer Fire Department $24,200
Harrods Creek Fire Dept. $12,072.22
Harvest Homecoming & New Albany Fire Dept. $20,668.65
Hazelwood Center $1,897.67
Heth Township VFD $5,342.41
Highview Fire Dept. $105,491.28
Irvington VFD $8,926.12
Jefferson County Public Schools $118,027.97
Jeffersontown Fire Protection District $34,000.00
Jeffersonville Fire Dept. $24,371.49
Jennings Township VFD $11,518.05
Kaelin Sisters $102.76
Kelly Knoop – Donation and Receipt of Buddy Award $4,650.00
Kentuckiana Corvette Club & Moose Lodge 5 $10,867.00
Knifley Area Volunteer Fire Dept. $311.70
Kosair Charities $150,000.00
Kentucky 86 Fire & Rescue $15,376.00
Lafayette Township Fire Protection District $107,070.44
LaGrange Fire and Rescue $35,294.51
Lake Dreamland Fire Dept. $47,397.20
Lake Jericho Fire & Rescue $3,641.85
Lanesville Fire Dept. $18,514.45
Larue / Hodgenville Fire Dept. $3,073.30
Leavenworth Crusaders $3,601.93
Lebanon Fire District $37,055.00
Lebanon Junction Fire Dept. $5,007.40
Leitchfield Fire Dept. $12,513.28
LG&E KU PPL Companies $217,641.00
Loretto VFD $4,001.17
Louisville Fire and Rescue $33,812.00
Louisville Football Youth $500.00
Louisville Low Rider $1,410.00
Louisville Street Rods $2,400.00
Louisville Triple Crown of Running $142,146.00
Lyndon Fire Protection District $19,885.06
Marion County Grand Total $50,343.02
McAlister’s Deli $77,145.70
McDaniels Fire Dept. $6,549.42
McMahan Fire Protection District $132,000.00
Meade County Fire and Rescue $15,874.31
Middletown Fire District $58,000.00
Milltown Volunteer Fire Dept. $16,199.51
Mitchell Johnson $100.00
Monroe Twp VFD $35,977.89
Mortenson Family Dental $10,000.00
Mount Eden VFD $12,401.69
Mt. Washington Fire Dept. $23,525.00
Muldraugh Fire Dept. $2,125.13
New Castle Vol. Fire & Rescue $311,787.63
New Chapel Fire Company $6,892.69
New Middletown Fire Dept. $10,092.00
New Washington VFD $27,509.00
Newkirk, Bill $1,610.09
Nichols VFD $14,564.62
Norton Healthcare $125,134.89
Nuss, Rosie $1,000.00
Okolona Fire Department – Milwaukee Tool Raffle Winner – Doc Gahafer
Okolona Fire Protection District $60,748.62
Palmyra Fire Dept. $10,640.06
Parkway Rehab & Nursing Center $1,215.00
Payneville Fire Dept. $23,298.32
Pewee Valley Fire Protection District $26,380.00
Pierce Polk Volunteer Fire Department $5,255.96
Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District Total $297,555.93
Pleasureville VFD $12,192.46
Probilt Automotive, Keith Tennill $375.00
Radcliff Fire Dept. $16,000.00
Radial, Geo $10,000.00
Ramsey VFD $15,176.64
Raywick VFD $3,580.88
Republic Bank – Steve Trager $7,500.00
Rineyville Fire Dept. $8,628.13
Salem Fire Dept. $14,639.61
Sellersburg VFD $10,000.00
Shelby County Fire Dept. $77,746.02
Shelbyville Fire & Rescue $17,595.34
Shepherdsville Fire Dept. $27,270.99
Shively Fire Dept. $16,326.38
Simpsonville VFD $18,151.00
Sonora Fire & Rescue $8,650.51
South Oldham Fire & Rescue $49,470.22
Southeast Bullitt Fire Dept. $20,059.90
Southern Indiana Rehab $4,066.75
Sparkles & Spurs $1,889.08
Spencer County / Taylorsville Fire Dept. $21,000.00
Springfield / Washington County Fire Dept. $6,203.93
St. James Church $907.35
St. Marks United Church of Christ $2,000.28
St. Matthews Fire Protection District $58,213.00
St. Athanasius School Beta Club $1,219.87
Stephensburg VFD $6,249.00
Summersville Fire Department $4,431.17
Sunnyside Square Dancers $281.02
Superior Van & Mobility $6,300.00
Ted Throckmorton Memorial Golf Tournament $19,463.00
Texas Roadhouse $2,500.00
The Temple $4,000
University of Louisville – UofL Cares Campaign $15,185.90
Upton Volunteer Fire & Rescue $1,977.61
Utica Township Fire Dept. $8,191.15
Valley Creek Fire Dept. $36,030.00
Vine Grove Fire Dept. $9,987.54
Waddy Volunteer Fire Dept. $13,949.70
Wax Fire & Rescue $2,422.00
West 84 Volunteer Fire Dept. $3,884.21
Westpoint Volunteer Fire Dept. $5,639.34
WHAS11 Tour Kentuckiana Golf Card $2,500.00
White Mills Volunteer Fire Dept. $5,318.75
Willisburg Fire Dept. $2,781.75
Woodford County Fire Department $6,964.00
Zoneton Fire Protection District $94,369.19
It’s that time of year!
The Louisville Triple Crown of RunningSM presented by Novo Nordisk is a series of well-established road races of varying distances. In an effort to help more runners and walkers in the Kentuckiana area embrace a healthy lifestyle and achieve the goal of completing the three-race series, there are two more runs in the Louisville Triple Crown of Running series:
Rodes City Run 10K on Saturday, March 12th
Papa John’s 10 Miler on Saturday, March 26th
Go to the Louisville Triple Crown of RunningSM Web site by clicking here and register TODAY!
All three races benefit the WHAS Crusade for Children!
9th Annual Zoneton Fire Crusade Bass Fishing Tournament September 12
Click here to download an application for the Bass Tournament.
Lincoln Hills Caring Hands Loving Hearts fundraiser September 12
Zoneton Fire 5K for the Crusade September 20th
Click HERE to register for the Zoneton 5K today!
Kate’s Frogtown Hop September 26th
Click HERE for online registration.
Give Local Louisville October 1st – Donate to the Crusade!
CLICK HERE to donate to the WHAS Crusade for Children!
St. Matthews FD Rib Cook Off October 3rd
ALL RIBS will be PROVIDED for FREE for the cook off teams.
Click here for more details
South Oldham FD Fire Fest October 3rd
Highview Community Festival Antique & Custom Auto Show October 10th
Census Bureau’s Crusade Auction November 19th
Re-enroll & swipe your Kroger Plus Card for the Crusade
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP NOW! REMEMBER TO RE-ENROLL EVERY AUGUST!
Shred for the Crusade
Your old paper could mean new money for the WHAS Crusade for Children. The owners of Greenway Shredding and Recycling have come up with a unique way to raise money for the Crusade. Drop your documents by the company’s Watterson Trail location and get them shredded for a donation to help children with special needs.
Greenway Shredding & Recycling
2318 Watterson Trail
Louisville, KY 40299
Phone: (502) 749-0390
20th Craig Drury Memorial Golf Scramble September 14
Click here to download an entry form.
Metro Arson reopening cold case involving firefighter death
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Glendale firefighter Jonathan French who was killed early on the morning of August 6, 2014.
Police said the Glendale Volunteer Fire Department was working a van fire at mile marker 87 on Interstate 65 in Hardin County when 25-year-old Jonathan French and his mother, 43-year-old Lisa French, were hit by a semi-truck.
He began collecting donations for the WHAS Crusade for Children in the 1960’s and later became the lead fire coordinator of all fire departments that raise money for the Crusade.
In the late 1970’s, Bill took on the effort of coordinating the growing number of fire departments that collect donations for the WHAS Crusade for Children each year.
Longtime Crusader Bill Greenwell passed away Saturday, July 19, 2014.
Bill was honored with the Buddy Award
He was awarded the “Buddy Award” in 2009. It’s an award given to someone who exhibits the true goodness of the WHAS Crusade for Children.
In an emotional presentation around 6:00pm Sunday June 7, 2009 in the WHAS-TV Studio H, Bill was also given an award to honor his daughter Diane “Dee Dee” Rizzo who died suddenly in 2008. The award is entitled the “Above and Beyond Award.”
From page 74 of the Crusade’s 50th Anniversary book, Miracles by the Million, Bill tells author Bob Hill, “At that time I think there was 80-some odd fire departments involved and it was getting unwieldy,” Greenwell said. “I thought to myself, ‘What am I going to do with 83 fire departments?’ That number has since grown to nearly 200.
Crusade Director Phyllis Knight asked Bill to serve as a liaison between WHAS and the fire departments. Which he did for many years. Bill Greenwell was instrumental for putting in place the Crusade for Children – fire department relationships that exist today. Bill stepped down from his role of lead coordinator in 2000.
In most recent years Bill, his wife Linda and family members have travelled to coordinate Crusade donation remote broadcasts in Columbia, Kentucky and Rough River State Resort Park. These two remotes have aired on WBKO-TV in Bowling Green for more than a decade and are hosted by morning weatherman Chris Allen. Area fire departments have expected to see the Greenwells each year.
He appeared on the 2014 version of the Crusade and had enough energy to participate in the traditional singing of “God Bless America” one last time to close out the Crusade’s 61st campaign.
Thank you Bill from the thousands you’ve touched and for your decades of commitment to the WHAS Crusade for Children.
More from Bob Hill’s interview
For the 50th annual WHAS Crusade for Children, Courier-Journal columnist Bob Hill wrote the book, “Miracles by the Millions” the 50th Anniversary of the WHAS Crusade for Children. He interviewed many people who had been part of the Crusade’s long history. One of those was longtime Crusade Fire Department Coordinator Bill Greenwell. Here’s a selection of what Bob Hill wrote:
In the late 1970s that co-coordinating effort fell into the capable hands of Bill Greenwell of the Highview Fire Department, who first became involved with the Crusade collecting at intersections.
In 1976 he assisted Middletown Fire Department Chief Bob Martin who had put together a crew of people to welcome firemen to the WHAS building.
“At the time I think there were 80-some odd fire departments involved and it was getting a little unwieldy,” Greenwell said. “Bob Martin left to go into business for himself and Phyllis Knight asked if I would put together the same crew and do the same thing.
“I thought to myself, what am I going to do with 83 fire departments?”
Greenwell’s job soon expanded to more than co-coordinating several hundred fire trucks for the Crusade weekend. Knight asked him if he would also serve as a liaison between WHAS and the fire departments, to get ideas and give the fire departments a voice so it would not seem as if WHAS was dictating the Crusade agenda. It was a job he would keep until the 2000 Crusade.
“We would go out year around and meet with the departments individually and tell them what was coming up.
“We would find out what their plans were. One thing we did initially was run a clearing house of sorts to keep neighboring departments, or at least departments close, from planning a function or a fundraiser at the same time.”
That co-coordinating meant Greenwell might have to tell one department holding a fish fry on a certain night that a nearby department had a chicken supper the same night – and could one of them change the date. He kept track of all the culinary events – and hundreds of others – in two, three-inch binders, served as binding arbitrator if need be.
The fundraisers were as varied as they were successful; dances, raffles, bake sales, street festivals and carnivals. One year eager firemen went into a Seventh Street Road nightspot where the female entertainment began selling kisses for $1. Not to be outdone, the firemen began selling kisses for $1, too. But mostly Greenwell had to co-ordinate less exotic fund-raisers, and in time the departments learned to co-ordinate them by themselves.
“Hopefully, everybody that planned something would check with me first,” he said. “I had notes on each department, they were all indexed and I had a master calendar.”
The other reason co-ordination was important was that as one fire department headed downtown toward WHAS – sirens screaming and lights blazing – it was important that neighboring departments were available in case of a fire.
“You can imagine what the publicity would be if a small community with maybe three trucks had its equipment and manpower downtown and a fire started,” he said. “Crusade would get the blame for it.”
So the Crusade began to establish “remote” telecast sites closer to the outlying departments, along with co-coordinating who would deliver the money-laden boots when.
One year in fact, when a tornado went through Pioneer Village and Zoneton in Bullitt County a few days before Crusade weekend, some Jefferson County firemen went to Bullitt County to collect money while the Bullitt firemen worked the cleanup.
All this work was above and way beyond Greenwell’s regular job as security director for Goodrich Chemical Company.
“It started out a few hours a week, but it ended up from February on becoming a 40-hour-a-week job, especially when you would get up toward the Crusade,” he said.
In the early 1980s, as the co-coordinating task became overwhelming, Greenwell set up a committee of seven area co-coordinators who would handle the day-to-day questions in their various departments and counties, then report to him.
Then Greenwell set up another co-coordinating committee at the WHAS end to handle traffic control, accounting and radio communications. Thus the happy invasion of siren-blowing firemen into downtown Louisville could be handled with some degree of almost military control.
“We would put their trucks where they had to be and make sure they came across the stage at the same time their truck rolled up for a camera shot. I think we had 13 or 14 people coordinating all that. We had checkpoints. We set up a command post.”
There were no military salutes – or secret handshakes. But no amount of organization could stifle the competitive juices between the various departments, each eager to top last year’s total, if not the neighboring department’s total.
In the Crusade’s early years it was usually the Archdiocese of Louisville, or General Electric, that brought in the most loot. Greenwell remembered one year when the Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department learned in advance how much the Archdiocese had collected – and found itself about $800 short of being Number One.
“The Pleasure Ridge chief had people soliciting right here downtown,” Greenwell said. “They even went over to the Federal Building and were getting money out of the fountain.”
Greenwell said Pleasure Ridge Park has been the only department that kept it final total secret until it members walked out before the Crusade TV lights – a secret made possible because it had five departments within the one.
“Each one of the five stations is sort of run by a captain,” he said. “The captain runs the effort in each of the five, and the chief of staff co-ordinates it. No one captain knows what the other has done.”
Greenwell said truth and accuracy are often not associated with a fire department’s pre-Crusade declarations, either. Indeed, the Crusade often involves more sandbagging than the 1937 Flood.
Greenwell remembered one year when the Harrods Creek Fire Department chief, a good friend of his, was loudly complaining what a lousy year it had been raising Crusade money.
“Everyone keeps records as to how well they did on a Friday this year as opposed to last year,” Greenwell said, “and the chief told me ‘It’s not looking good. It’s terrible. We went to one of the most affluent subdivisions and instead of getting $100, $150 and $200 checks, we were getting coins.’ ”
Greenwell said he was practically depressed at his friend’s rotten luck. Then came Crusade Sunday – and the tune changed.
“Not only had he lied to me,” Greenwell said, “he came in with a record year.”
Each department has its own fund-raising techniques, he said. Edgewood would hold a street festival with booths, as would Camp Taylor. McMahan will hit the Crusade hard beginning two weeks before the deadline.
“It’s strictly an effort of love,” he said. “The only thing the departments really compete against is last year’s numbers. The worst thing a department can go through is to come in, go on stage and say, “We’re down from last year. That’s just something no chief wants to do.”
Greenwell said he has been to national conferences with other firefighters, has tried to explain the power and endurance of the Crusade to them, but “they just can’t fathom it.”
He told a story of working an Outer Loop and Old Shepherdsville Road roadblock in pouring rain. Many people travel that weekend with a cup filled with coins on the seat next to them, ready for the next roadblock at the next intersection.
“This one particular case, a man probably in his 80s,” Greenwell said, “He had a handful of change. We were standing out in the driving rain and I walked up to him with a boot, hat or whatever and he put his container on the seat, reached in his wallet, holding up traffic, and he got out a handful of bills.
“He said, “if you’re willing to stand out in this kind of heat and rain, you’re worth more than change.’”
As with many firemen, Greenwell also had a deeply personal story explaining what has driven him to be a part of 30 Crusades.
“The first three years I had been involved with the fire department collecting and road blocking. I had already instilled in my mind, ‘We’re out doing this for other people. That’s why we’re here.”
“Suddenly I got a call that my daughter had delivered premature twins at St. Anthony’s Hospital. They were 26 weeks. One was a pound and three ounces and the other was a pound and six ounces.
“They transferred them immediately to Children’s Hospital by way of a baby buggy – a special pediatric ambulance or premature ambulance they had there.
“Well when we got down there the next day the twins, of course, were under treatment in the little perambulators and all the machinery. We would look around and most of the equipment in there, including the perambulator they were in, had a chrome tag on it saying, “A gift from the Crusade for Children.”
The twins would grow up to be healthy, happy adults. Bill Greenwell was changed forever.
“All of a sudden I wasn’t doing it for anyone else anymore. I had gotten the benefits of it myself. And there’s probably not a department involved that hasn’t been touched by the Crusade in one way or another.”
About the Buddy Award
The Buddy Award is an honor given annually to a Crusade volunteer who exemplifies the spirit and dedication of Bud Harbsmeier. Bud retired in 2000 after serving 18 years as Executive Director of the WHAS Crusade for Children. The honor was created in 2001 by former Crusade for Children Executive Director Dan Miller. The honoree is one who captures the spirit Bud put forth during his tenure.[easingsliderlite]