Weather doesn’t dampen fundraiser

Mother Nature rained a bit once again at Columbus’ Mill Race Park, but Our Hospice of South Central Indiana ultimately reigned at its recent annual fundraising concert, cracking the six-figure mark for the first time since 2010.

That’s when the Little River Band had the crowd “walking through the park and reminiscing.”

The Labor Day weekend concert with former Eagles guitarist Don Felder raised slightly more than $100,000, according to Our Hospice estimates. The figure is significant because heavy rain stopped the concert early in 2011, moved it indoors to a smaller space in 2012, aborted it in 2013 even before the opening band performed and substantially limited the crowd last year.

In each of those years, all that translated to less money raised for Our Hospice — and also necessitated a string of fundraisers during the following months to make up the shortfall. Last year, the concert with former Styx leader Dennis DeYoung raised $67,000.

Boosting this year’s fundraising total was $3,520 generated from a raffle of three cooking grills specially designed by Faurecia employees for the event.

Our Hospice’s nonprofit mission focuses on caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses. The agency also cares for patients’ families by offering emotional, spiritual and psychological support.

Our Hospice President Laura Hurt said the strong community support comes at a key time.

“The funds we raise at the annual concert have become even more important as the need for hospice care has increased and many businesses around us have started including hospice care in their services,” Hurt said.

People’s generosity also paid dividends for their neighbors.

Columbus’ Mimi Riffle won the $10,000 raffle grand prize.

Other raffle winners:

  • $500 first prize — Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Norfrey of Columbus.
  • $250 second prize -– Joan Sterling of Greensburg.
  • $150 third prize – Ronnie Deaton of Indianapolis.
  • $100 fourth prize -– Karen Hardwick of Morristown.

Grill winners were:

  • The Big Rig Grill winner: Joe Andrew
  • The Ruckus winner: Dave DeGraaf
  • Grill de Ville winner: Joan Dunlap.

The nonprofit Our Hospice makes money from sales of food, T-shirts, posters and other items at the event to help fund its programs to care for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

That ranges from home medical care to spiritual help, counseling and bereavement support. That funding goes to pay for patient services that insurance does not cover, and no patient is ever turned away because of financial need, according to Our Hospice.

Until the 2011 fundraising concert, when a severe thunderstorm sent a Grand Funk Railroad crowd scurrying for their cars, the event had been affected by weather only once before. The 1987 concert was moved to the Columbus North High School gym for The Drifters and the Platters, but a crowd of about 7,000 at the gym then was considered a remarkable success.

In more recent years, Our Hospice has raised more than $100,000 at some concerts with crowds estimated at 10,000 to 15,000.

The agency was among the first of its kind in the state in the early 1980s and also has been among the state’s largest.

Ways you can still help

Organizers of the Labor Day Weekend Our Hospice fundraising concert said they still have a limited number of short-sleeved T-shirts and posters that can be purchased by calling 812-314-8041.

Plus, artist Donna Rosenberg’s original depiction of headliner Don Felder’s classic double-neck guitar — the image that graced the event posters — will be auctioned soon to benefit Our Hospice. The artwork can be viewed in the lobby of the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

Information about participating in the online auction: ourhospice.org

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.