Approximately $97,000 was raised at the 46th annual Ernie Blankenship Memorial Radio-Telethon in support of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults. At the closing bell on March 28 the total stood at $94,577, including pledges and donations in Hillsboro and Greenfield, as well as auction items. By the following day, Rotarian Rocky Coss said the total had surpassed $96,000 and indicated that the Society fundraiser would top $97,000 by the end of the week. The radio-telethon represented an impressive fundraising effort in a small rural county for a unique local organization, which assists county residents with the costs of medical needs. The event is a joint project of the Rotary clubs of Hillsboro and Greenfield. Rick Williams and Herb Day again served as emcees in Hillsboro, while various Rotarians including Andrew Surritt, Virginia Purdy, Eric Borsini, Larry Hayes and Ron Coffey acted as hosts in Greenfield. In Greenfield, the radio-telethon featured lots of live entertainment, including performances by members of Whitney Vanzant’s Modern Movement Dance Co. Rocky Coss, the local Common Pleas Court Judge and a Rotarian, has been the driving force behind the event since Blankenship’s passing. His wife, Gayle, is the Society director. As they do annually, members of Blankenship’s family were on hand Wednesday to kick-off the event in Hillsboro. Patrick “P.J.” Norton and Emily Davis served as co-poster children for this year’s event, Emily handling the honors for the third time and expressing a willingness to help others. P.J. was unable to attend the radio-telethon, but a big wagon of toys donated by the Eagles organization and a huge stuffed bunny will be shared between the two. The first radio-telethon was held in 1973 at the former Hillsboro Bank office in Hillsboro and raised $1,715, according to a press release from the Society. During the past 44 years, the two Rotary Clubs have raised nearly $3.5 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 officials say they anticipate this will continue. The funds that are raised as used by the Society to provide assistance and services to the Highland County children and adults who have extraordinary expenses for necessary medical treatment, transportation, equipment and other health care devices. The Society 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, according to information provided by the organization. While the telethon is over, the work goes on. Anyone who would like to donate to HCSCA can still do so, with donations being accepted at local banks or by mail at P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. For more information, contact the Highland County Society for Children and Adults at 937-393-2142.