It’s time again to grab the telephone and request your favorite rocker, love ballad, oldie or college fight song to support one of Fulton County’s most beloved fundraisers.
The 42nd Annual Heart Radiothon will be held Thursday, Feb. 11, on WMTR 96.1 in Archbold. Thirty-three guest disc jockeys have pledged to search high and low for their listeners’ requests, from the familiar to the obscure, all in the name of goodwill donations to benefit area heart health.
And it’s a matter of pride for the board members behind the Heart Radiothon that its goal has been met each year for over four decades. This year’s goal is $24,000.
“Fulton County has always stepped up. Not one time have we not met our goal,” said Maxell Smith, WMTR owner. “It’s near and dear to county residents.”
Between 6 a.m. and midnight about 40 volunteers will take listeners’ requests, dig them up from the archives, and play them on-air, all for donations. Past playlists have included contemporary hits from almost every genre, college fight songs, and some rarely-heard tunes, from the sentimental to the ridiculous.
The money raised is used in part to purchase automated external defibrillators (AED) for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, EMS squads, schools, churches, and other organizations. “We always look for new opportunities to put AEDs in the community,” said Brent Shea, Radiothon treasurer.
At present, 122 AEDs have been distributed in the county, and Radiothon proceeds also go toward replacing their batteries.
Donations also fund the $5,000 annual cost of cholesterol checks for the county’s high school freshmen and seniors, and fund health screenings at the county’s health department and senior center.
“It’s really important that the people who support this know where the money is going. We want to be really transparent with that,” Smith said.
Sharon Morr, Fulton County Health Center Director of Corporate and Community Health Promotion, and a Heart Radiothon board member, said past donations were used to purchase treadmills and a recumbent bicycle for the facility’s cardiac rehabilitation treatment, CPR mannequins for community and school classes, and equipment for the facility’s area fitness classes. Heart-related equipment also has been purchased for Fairlawn Haven and Fulton Manor, nursing homes in Archbold and Wauseon, respectively.
“The money raised all goes back into this equipment. We certainly wouldn’t have 122 AEDs in the community without the Heart Radiothon,” Morr said. “And people’s lives have been saved with them.”
This year’s budget includes: County EMS departments, $2,100; Fulton County Health Center, $1,200; Fulton County schools, $4,750; AEDs, $3,300; AED batteries, $6,000; community screenings, $5,150; Fairlawn Haven, $250; Fulton Manor, $250; Heart Radiothon promotional supplies, $1,000.
Overall, the Heart Radiothon spends $25,000 annually on heart-health projects. Since its inception, the fundraiser has brought in $880,310.94.
Shea said the fundraiser’s founders, including Maxell Smith Sr., Marv Goldsmith, and Bob Lammon “saw a need in the community, and wanted to raise money to fill gaps in budgets for health care and self-help organizations. It started out so people could get screenings and get educated.”
Dr. Ben Reed, a former Fulton County coroner, and Chuck Rychener also were instrumental in starting the Radiothon.
This year’s event is dedicated to Richard Batdorf, who served the Radiothon from its early days the 1970s until he died last June 9.
Ron Murd, a 14-year Radiothon board member, said Batdorf, an avid Ohio State Buckeyes fan, will be missed at the event.
“He was very helpful, he was very dedicated. He was always willing to help out,” Murd said. “He was always the first one there and the last one to leave. He was really into Heart Radiothon.”
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.