The 66th WHAS Cru­sade for Children is in the books. During the 30 hours of the annual telethon more than $5.6 million was raised to support agencies, schools, hospitals and other organizations that provide direct services and benefits to special needs children across Ken­tucky and Southern Indiana.

Since its inception in 1954 and including this year’s tally, the Crusade has generated nearly $160 million, making it one of the most successful telethons of its type in the United States.

Almost 60 percent of the donations are gathered in boot drives and through other events orchestrated by the 200 or so fire departments across Kentuckiana. Considering the challenges these departments face as roadblock fundraising is no longer an option in Elizabethtown and Radcliff, firefighters with departments in local communities still raised an impressive total during the past drive.

Where possible, these men and women stood between the lanes at roadway intersections with outstretched arms to collect loose change and dollar bills from passing motorists. Where roadblocks weren’t possible they got creative and organized other fundraisers to continue their support. With 100 percent of money generated redirected through grants that pay for programs which meet the direct needs of special needs children, Crusade continues to garner a lasting reputation for caring, trust and service.

Thanks to the support of generous citizenry, according to totals obtained from WHAS Crusade for Children’s website local and area departments had some exciting numbers.

We applaud those who donated their time and hard-earned money during this recent Crusade weekend. With each dime and dollar dropped into a boot or pledged through another fundraising event, at least one of every three special needs children in Kentuckian will receive the Crusade funded services they need for a better and more fulfilled life.

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