WHAS Crusade for Children history

The WHAS Crusade for Children celebrated 60 years of making life better for children with special needs in 2013.

Since 1954, the WHAS Crusade for Children has hosted an annual radio/telethon that over 60 years has bounced around the calendar having been held in November, September, May and most recently June.

The Crusade has a rich history of both local and national performers for the telethon including Randy Atcher, Cab Calloway, “Cactus” Tom Brooks, JoAnn Hale, Judy Marshall, Jonah Jones, Peg Leg Bates, Jerry Vale, Steve Lawrence, Donald O’Connor, Doc Severinsen, Tommy Newsom, Aaron Neville, B. J. Thomas, Bobby Rydell, C. W. McCall, Captain Kangaroo, Ken Kercheval, Hager Twins, Johnny Rivers, John Davidson, Chuck Woolery, Alan Thicke, Diahann Carroll, Della Reese, Florence Henderson, Larnell Harris, McLean Stevenson, JoAnne Worley, Merv Griffin, Pam Tillis, Tammy Wynette, Lee Greenwood, The Monarchs, Lance Burton, Peabo Bryson, Kentucky Headhunters, The Captain and Tennille, Aaron Neville and Kenny Rogers.

Here’s a year by year history of the WHAS Crusade for Children.

1954

  • Entertainers

    Actors Pat O’Brien and Pedro Gonzalez
  • Date
    October 16, 1954
  • Location
    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised
    $ 156,725.92
  • Crusade moment
    Pat O’Brien inspired participation of local Catholics
  • Crusade grant recipients
    20 agencies total
    16 Kentucky agencies
    4 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy
    A grant given to Central State Hospital established a pilot program for intensive treatment of emotionally disturbed children. That program later became the Children’s Unit at Central State Hospital.

1955

  • Entertainers

    Don Cherry, Eydie Gorme, Professor Backwards (Jimmy Edmonson), Rosemary DeCamp, Hal Leroy, Leo Carrillo, Ish Kabibble
  • Date
    September 24, 1955
  • Location
    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised
    $ 183,624.74
  • Crusade moment
    The U.S. Marines became the first group outside of WHAS employees to begin raising money for the Crusade.
  • Crusade grant recipients
    24 agencies total
    19 Kentucky agencies
    5 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy
    The Crusade received help from over 1000 volunteers nationwide. Donations were received from over 14 states, spreading from California to Massachusetts.

1956

  • Entertainers

    Cab Calloway, Steve Lawrence, Captain Kangaroo, Zippy the Chimp
  • Date

    September 22, 1956
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 187,060.44
  • Crusade moment

    Pleasure Ridge Park Volunteer Fire Department became the first fire department to make an appearance and donation to the Crusade.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    The first Crusade King and Queen were announced in 1956. The queen was Mickey Minshall of New Albany, IN. and the king was Lee Dean of Harrosdburg, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    31 agencies total
    28 Kentucky agencies
    3 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    A Crusade grant provided hearing tests for 95,000 children. 2,767 of the children tested were found to need medical attention. The equipment was later used by Louisville, Jefferson County, and Jefferson County Parochial Schools to identify and find treatment for students with hearing disabilities.

1957

  • Entertainers

    Homer and Jethro, Sergeant Preston (Richard Simmons), Jonah Jones
  • Date

    September 21, 1957
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 178,210.45
  • Crusade moment

    For the first time, a child’s head was used as the Crusade logo. WHAS TV Art Director, Dave Dumeyer created the logo using a drawing of his son David Dumeyer, Jr.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Don Peterson, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Pat Dodson, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    35 agencies total
    29 Kentucky agencies
    6 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    A grant was given to establish a rehabilitation center for Southern Indiana. The center later became Rauch Rehabilitation Center.

1958

  • Entertainers

    Jimmy Nelson, Marvin Miller, Bobby Hackett, Gretchen Wyler
  • Date

    September 20, 1958
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 188,751.37
  • Crusade moment

    Pleasure Ridge Park Volunteer Fire Department issues a challenge and inspires other fire departments to raise money for the Crusade.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Harold Roberts, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Norma Farris, Lexington, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    34 agencies total
    30 Kentucky agencies
    4 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    Grants from the 1958 Crusade went to establish the Southeastern Rehabilitation Center in Clark County, IN and a vision screening program for Louisville City Schools.

1959

  • Entertainers

    Lee Marvin, Peg Leg Bates
  • Date

    September 26, 1959
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 197,372.13
  • Crusade moment

    God Bless America becomes the official closing song of the Crusade.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: B.T. Kimbrough III, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Sharon May Conley, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    35 agencies total
    28 Kentucky agencies
    7 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    Since joining the Crusade, Louisville Area Catholics continued to be the highest contributor.

1960

  • Entertainers

    Popeye, Dick Roman, Molly Bee, John Bubbles
  • Date

    September 24, 1960
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 208,174.27
  • Crusade moment

    25,000 people turn out at the Water Front to kick off Crusade Month with Louisville Mayor Bruce Hoblitzell. Ronald Reagan, Gene Autry, Jackie Robinson, and Ann Landers record promotional pieces for the Crusade.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Gary Hume, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Sherrie Johnson, Sheperdsville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    39 agencies total
    31 Kentucky agencies
    8 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    The first scholarships are awarded to special education teachers at the University of Kentucky.

1961

  • Entertainers

    Johnny Nash, The Eddie Heywood Trio
  • Date

    September 23, 1961
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 231,136.66
  • Crusade moment

    The quest to become the Crusade Queen did not happen for one Kentucky girl. This beautiful blonde would later become one of the world’s leading broadcasters. The 2nd place finisher in the 1961 Crusade Queen contest was ABC’s Diane Sawyer.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Bill Haas, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Sherry Sizemore, Vernon, IN.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    45 agencies total
    37 Kentucky agencies
    8 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    70 Volunteer Fire Departments have joined in the efforts to raise money for the Crusade. In 1961 over $4000 in grant money was given to research the causes of mental retardation.

1962

  • Entertainers

    Buffalo Bill, The Chipmunks, Cozy Cole
  • Date

    September 22, 1962
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 256,649.90
  • Crusade moment

    The Inaugural WHAS Crusade For Children march took place with Nelson Keyes leading the way.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Gary L. Harden, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Phyllis Ann Hewitt Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    45 agencies total
    36 Kentucky agencies
    9 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    The original challenge made by Pleasure Ridge Park Volunteer Fire Department worked and encouraged other departments to get involved. Their challenge worked so well that in 1962 St. Matthew’s Fire Department raised more money than any other department. For the first time, PRP was beaten by $ 74.

1963

  • Entertainers

    Henry “Red” Allen, The Irvin Twins, June Valli, Johnny Johnson
  • Date

    September 21, 1963
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 289,095.69
  • Crusade moment

    On the 10th anniversary, the Crusade received it’s first major award. University of Louisville President, Dr. Phillip Davidson presented the UofL Award of Merit to WHAS President, Vic Sholis.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Larry Donoho, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Linda Graham, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    45 agencies total
    37 Kentucky agencies
    8 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    Mrs. Susan McLeod of Woodford County, KY. was the first to leave a donation to the Crusade in a will. Mrs. McLeod left $ 5000 to the Crusade through the Versailles/ Woodford County Fire Department.

1964

  • Entertainers

    Don Goldie, Jack Haskell
  • Date

    September 26, 1964
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 311,862.00
  • Crusade moment

    For the first time ever it rained on Crusade Sunday. The rainy day didn’t stop the fire fighters from coming in to make their donations and grabbing a bite to eat. It was estimated that Crusade Volunteers eat 500 lbs of ham and beef, drink 7,000 cups of coffee, 175 cases of soft drinks and use 60 loaves of bread during Crusade weekend.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Wesley McAfee, Taylorsville, KY.
    Queen: Barbara Ann Meeks, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $259,147.47
    Indiana agencies received $56,326.83
  • Crusade legacy

    A $90,000 grant given to establish a heart lab at Children’s Hospital was the largest single grant ever given by the Crusade at this point. The grant was used to purchase a heart machine to treat special needs children.

1965

  • Entertainers

    Bobby Lewis, Doc Severinsen, Grady Nutt
  • Date

    September 25, 1965
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 354,620.00
  • Crusade moment

    Louis J. Schueler of Henderson Electric donates an electrical tote board. Grady Nutt coins the WHAS phrase, We Have All Shared.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Davis Marasco, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Kaye Moore, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients
    43 agencies helped
    Kentucky agencies received $285,267.31
    Indiana agencies received $53,683.24
  • Crusade legacy

    The Crusade telethon begins to extend it’s hours. No longer the standard 16 hours, Crusade 12 ran 19.5 hours.

1966

  • Entertainers

    Doc Severinsen, Paula Wayne
  • Date

    September 24, 1966
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 415,592.00
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade volunteers have a moment of silence for tote board designer, Louis Schueler who died at the age of 56. General Electric’s Appliance Park employees make their first donation to the Crusade in the amount of
    $ 20,000
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Charles Wolverton, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Susan Stevens, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    44 agencies helped
    Kentucky agencies received $ 333,444.26
    Indiana agencies received $ 72,285.32
  • Crusade legacy

    The participation of fire departments becomes very important to the amount of money raised. The 85 fire departments who donated to the 1966 Crusade collected almost 50% of the total amount raised.Redman Indiana Fire Department became the first Indiana Fire Department with the highest overall total.

1967

  • Entertainers
    Clark Terry and Marilyn Maye
  • Date

    September 23, 1967
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 481,493.93
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade 14 hits the television airwaves as the longest running telecast of a single show at 20.5 hours. Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Chief Ernest E. Bohler who initiated fire department involvement loses his battle to cancer at the age of 55.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Mike Mitchman, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Candy Tilley, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    45 agencies total
    Kentucky agencies $ 394, 080.80
    Indiana agencies $ 92,249.08
  • Crusade legacy

    A $ 26,900 grant given to the University of Louisville Medical School to start a WHAS Crusade For Children Hearing and Speech Center.

1968

  • Entertainers

    Johnny Hartman, Jo Ann Hale, Linda Bennett, Judy Marshall, Sherry Sizemore
  • Date

    September 21, 1968
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 538,312.64
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade 15 was the first to bring in over a half million dollars in donations. In 1968 no major act was scheduled to appear. The community was so dedicated to the Crusade they would give no matter what talent would peform.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Mark Brenner, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Robbie Lynn Holcomb, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    50 agencies total
    40 Kentucky agencies
    10 Indiana agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    By 1968, Crusade grants had provided over 1000 scholarships to teachers of special needs children. GE Employees became the leading donor group by raising $ 40,000, $ 562 more than the previous leader, Catholic Archdiocese.

1969

  • Entertainers

    Diana Trask, Hal Frazier, Bobby Lewis
  • Date

    May 24, 1969
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 547,764.76
  • Crusade moment

    In December, 1968 Crusade directors make the decision to move the Crusade to May because of conflict with the United Way Campaign. Fund raising time was cut to five months, but volunteers surpassed the previous year.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Steve Johnson, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Colette Skinner, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    56 agencies total
    Kentucky agencies received $ 457,719.72
    Indiana agencies received $86,393.93
  • Crusade legacy

    A Crusade grant helped establish the first school for autistic children in Louisville.

1970

  • Entertainers

    Chuck Woolery, Merv Griffin
  • Date

    May 23, 1970
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 578,252.20
  • Crusade moment

    Father Felix Pitt, the last original member of the Crusade panel retires. Rev Irvin Moxley replaces Father Pitt, becoming the first African American on the ministers panel.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Herbert Thornton, Louisville, KY.
    Queen: Joann Cook, Louisville, KY.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    58 agencies total
    Kentucky agencies received $ 482,886.88
    Indiana agencies received $ 98,143.28
  • Crusade legacy

    Crusade grants were given to St. Joseph’s and General Hospitals to establish the first fetal heart units in Kentucky..

1971

  • Entertainers

    Clyde McCoy, Urbie Green, Frank Linkenberg
  • Date

    May 22, 1971
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 633,027.37
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade donations continue to increase each year. 97 fire departments collected for the 1971 Crusade.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Herbie Bruce
    Queen: Donna M. Elroy
  • Crusade grant recipients
    Kentucky agencies $ 508, 024.26
    Indiana agencies $ 112,947.19
  • Crusade legacy

    General Electric’s Appliance Park employees contribute $ 45,000 to the Crusade. It was the first time an outside group collected more than the Louisville Archdiocese.

1972

  • Entertainers

    No national entertainers participated in Crusade 19
  • Date

    May 20, 1972
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 640,266.39
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade telethon runs it’s longest time length at 22 hours.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 541,826.35
    Indiana agencies received $ 117,440.03
  • Crusade legacy

    Another Crusade grant was given to support the Children’s Hospital Heart Lab. As of this Crusade, the University of Louisville School of Medicine has received $ 973,748.00 in Crusade grant money.

1973

  • Entertainers

    Marla Adams, McLean Stevenson, Jo Anne Worley
  • Date

    May 19, 1973
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 756,398.40
  • Crusade moment

    Inmates in the Oldham County Jail collect for the Crusade and a jailer brings in their contribution of
    $ 4.00
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Bill Aubrey
    Queen: Sheila Vierling
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 567,898.80
    Indiana agencies received $ 182,173.65
  • Crusade legacy

    Fire Departments continue to be the back bone of the Crusade collecting a total of $ 350,000.00.

1974

  • Entertainers

    Tommy Leonetti, Mary Stuart, Arnie Lawrence
  • Date

    May 18, 1974
  • Location

    Memorial Auditorium, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 814,304.20
  • Crusade moment

    1974 was the year a tornado hit Brandenburg, KY destroying everything in its path. Fire departments and residents of Brandenburg continued to support the Crusade with a donation of $ 2,356.49
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Earl Gaar
    Queen: Teresa Grace
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 678,010.88
    Indiana agencies received $ 176,272.76
  • Crusade legacy

    Fire Departments that raise money for the Crusade bring their donations in to Memorial Auditorium and present them on live television. Because of the increasing number of fire departments supporting the Crusade, staff members begin assigning time slots in 1974. Some departments refused their assigned time because they wanted to stay at the road blocks longer to raise more money for the Crusade.

1975

  • Entertainers

    Tommy Newsom, Arnie Lawrence, Art Pepper
  • Date

    May 17, 1975
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 903,943.16
  • Crusade moment

    1975 was the last year for the Crusade King and Queen contests. For the first and only time in Crusade history, the Crusade was broadcast statewide on KET.
  • Crusade King and Queen

    King: Roger Blankenship
    Queen: Nellie Joseph
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 700,028.25
    Indiana agencies received $ 228,015.76
  • Crusade legacy

    The Crusade moved to the WHAS Television building because of a stagehand strike at Memorial Auditorium. The Stagehand Union would not allow the production of the Crusade. The move was the first time the Crusade would be in an air conditioned building but the seating was cut from 1,000 to 160 people.

1976

  • Entertainers

    Bobby Rydell, C.W. McCall, Janet DuBois, Dominic Spera
  • Date

    May, 1976
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 919,432.44
  • Crusade moment

    WHAS Television builds a new set adding to the Crusade excitement.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 713,227.60
    Indiana agencies received $ 259,228.00
  • Crusade legacy

    Phyllis Knight is appointed to the newly created position of Executive Director and Producer for the WHAS Crusade For Children. It is the first time a year round paid position was dedicated to raising funds for the Crusade.

1977

  • Entertainers

    Jim Stafford, Helen Hume, Jeanne C. Riley
  • Date

    May, 1977
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,090,318.48
  • Crusade moment

    This was the first Crusade to raise over $ 1 million.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 906,532.89
    Indiana agencies received $ 208,425.52
  • Crusade legacy

    Lake Dreamland Fire Department brought boots and buckets full of change and currency to push the Crusade over the $1 million mark.

1978

  • Entertainers

    Diahann Carroll
  • Date

    May, 1978
  • Location

    WHAS Television, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,243,500.74
  • Crusade moment

    The WHAS Crusade For Children celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1978. Reynolds Aluminum donated thousands of aluminum posters engraved with the Crusade logo to distribute to the thousands of Crusade supporters.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,000,622.55
    Indiana agencies received $ 229,679.00
  • Crusade legacy

    The following people were honored for their 25 years of service to the Crusade:
    Jim Walton
    Carmel Cullen
    Joe Laffoon
    Henrietta Laffoon
    Ted Throckmorton
    Jack Koch
    Bob Pilkington
    Dick Sweeney
    Dave Dumeyer
    Omer Tucker
    Sam Gifford

1979

  • Entertainers

    Della Reese, Tim Reid, Captain Kangaroo, Bobby Rydell
  • Date

    May, 1979
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,284,118.70
  • Crusade moment

    For the past 26 years, Jim Walton served the Crusade as emcee. Jim retired after Crusade 26 in 1979.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,055,568.03
    Indiana agencies received $ 204,672.49
  • Crusade legacy

    Fire Departments got creative in raising money for the 26th Crusade. Local departments sold kisses to women for $1 to help raise their total donation of $660,000.00

1980

  • Entertainers

    Four Aces, Ken Kercheval, Helen Humes
  • Date

    May 17, 1980
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,439,927.90
  • Crusade moment

    WHAS Radio personality Wayne Perkey replaces the retired Jim Walton as Crusade Emcee. The WHAS Crusade For Children is incorporated as a non-profit organization. Fern Creek Volunteer Fire Department initiates Blood Sunday. As supporters brought in pledges for the Crusade, they also donated a pint of blood to the American Red Cross.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,225,866.09
    Indiana agencies received 257,547.03
  • Crusade legacy

    For the first time, the Crusade reaches over 24 hours of continuous coverage. With a donation of $72,250 the Louisville Archdiocese had raised over $1 million for the WHAS Crusade For Children.

1981

  • Entertainers

    Robert Walden, Marilyn Michaels, Gordon MacRae
  • Date

    May 17, 1981
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,584,307.96
  • Crusade moment

    120 Fire Departments help the WHAS Crusade For Children raise over $ 1.5 for the first time.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,322,675.23
    Indiana agencies received $ 216,637.19
  • Crusade legacy

    Broadcasting pioneer and Crusade Executive Director Phyllis Knight retired in 1981. WHAS Television reporter Bud Harbsmeier is named in her place.

1982

  • Entertainers

    Bobby Rydell, Four Freshman, Frank Bonner, Cullowhee, Archie Campbell
  • Date

    May 22, 1982
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,665,079.66
  • Crusade moment

    Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department donates a surprising $ 166,000. PRP resident, Norine Durbin left a donation of $97,000 through PRP Fire Department to the Crusade. PRP Fire Chief R.K. Back kept the will a secret until he announced it on the show.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,440,047.36
    Indiana agencies received $ 5,345.71
  • Crusade legacy

    A grant given to Children’s Hospital for $ 155,000 was used to purchase an electron microscope. The Hospital was the first in the area to have this state of the art medical equipment.

1983

  • Entertainers

    Johnny Rivers, Hager Twins, Sonny Shroyer, Mary Lynn Blanks
  • Date

    May 18, 1983
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,849,752.18
  • Crusade moment

    In 1983 the Crusade celebrated the 30th anniversary with the first Crusade Ball. During the celebration, WHAS Television owner Barry Bingham, Jr. performed with the Hager Twins.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,616,527.04
    Indiana agencies received $ 226,111.00
  • Crusade legacy

    The following people received awards for 30 years of service to the Crusade:
    Joe & Henrietta Laffoon
    Carmel Cullen
    Jim Koch
    Sam Gifford
    Bob Pilkington
    Dick Sweeney
    Dave Dumeyer
    Ted Throckmorton
    Jack Topmiller
    Dave Jones
    Clarence Hash
    Omer Tucker

1984

  • Entertainers

    Jerry Vale, Terri Gibbs, Hager Twins, Srgo Brothers, Johnny Lytle, Glenn Osser, Krista Tesreau
  • Date

    May 19, 1984
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 1,988,131.85
  • Crusade moment

    Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department joins the Crusade, extending the Crusade services to Eastern Kentucky.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 1,836,668.01
    Indiana agencies received $ 251,260.23
  • Crusade legacy

    For the first 31 years of the Crusade members of the U.S. Marine Reserve Unit provided security during Crusade weekend. Because of a conflict in summer boot camp, the Marines were not able to participate in Crusade 31. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s department joined the Crusade in place of the Marines.

1985

  • Entertainers

    John Davidson, Terri Gibbs, Eddie Miles
  • Date

    May 18, 1985
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 2,340,821.60
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade 32 hits the $2 million mark. It took 24 years for the Crusade to reach the million dollar mark and eight to go from $1 million to $2 million. Ford Motor Company and Jefferson County School employees join the Crusade to help raise the $ 2 million.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 2,085,431.27
    Indiana agencies received $ 230,742.22
  • Crusade legacy

    The largest single donation made to the Crusade was given by Peggy J. Smith. Ms. Smith left a $ 207,000.00 gift to the Crusade after her death. The only television station helicopter in the market, WHAS TV’s Sky11 was used to help collect money around the states. A photographer would fly to the different cities and record the fire department donations. He would then bring them back to the station for broadcast. This allowed the fire departments to stay in their areas in case of an emergency.

1986

  • Entertainers

    John Schneider, Billy Joe Royal
  • Date

    June 7, 1986
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 2,440,507.50
  • Crusade moment

    The Bingham Family of Louisville, KY sells their media properties in 1985. Included in the properties were WHAS Television, WHAS Radio, and the Louisville Courier Journal. In the 33 years of the Crusade under the Binghams, almost $27 million was raised to help Kentuckiana’s special needs children. Barry Bingham, Sr thanked the supporters and volunteers of the Crusade and asked for the community to continue to support the Crusade under the new owners.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    Kentucky agencies received $ 2,317,550.39
    Indiana agencies received $ 290,427.74
  • Crusade legacy

    In October, 1985 former Crusade emcee Jim Walton dies at the age of 68. An award to honor fire departments for their commitment to the Crusade was named in his honor. The first recipient of the Jim Walton Memorial Trophy was given to Columbia/Adair County Volunteer Fire Department in 1986.

1987

  • Entertainers

    Florence Henderson, Rizzuto Sisters, Kassie Welsey
  • Date

    June 6, 1987
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 2,300,082.53
  • Crusade moment

    The Crusade broadcast continued to expand throughout the state. Crusade 34 took advantage of the equipment used for every day news casts. Sky11 flew to 4 counties. The station’s satellite uplink truck broadcast live from Elizabethtown, KY. Another production truck was borrowed from Ft. Knox to broadcast live Saturday night. Bullitt County and surrounding area fire departments were able to make their donations live from Bullitt County.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    148 agencies total
    Kentucky agencies received $ 2,239,882.02
    Indiana agencies received $ 257,027.46
  • Crusade legacy

    In 1986 the Archdiocese of Louisville, Pleasure Ridge Park Volunteer Fire Department, and General Electric’s Appliance Park employee’s were honored for their contributions to the Crusade. Each group had given over one million dollars each to the WHAS Crusade For Children.

1988

  • Entertainers

    Little Anthony, Larnell Harris
  • Date

    June 4, 1988
  • Location

    WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 2,504,878.94
  • Crusade moment

    More counties than ever before participated in the 35th Crusade. WHAS TV and WHAS Radio heavily promoted the Crusade and extended their resources to reach every person possible.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    150 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    Former founder and owner of WHAS Radio, WHAS Television, and the Courier Journal Barry Bingham, Sr. died at the age of 82 on August 22, 1988.

1989

  • Entertainers

    Gary Morris, Larnell Harris
  • Date

    June 3, 1989
  • Location

    Saturday:Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
    Sunday: WHAS Studio, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 3,037,400.86
  • Crusade moment

    For the first time Crusade Saturday Night was performed from the Kentucky Center for the Arts. The evening consisted of a night of country and gospel music performances. Crusade Sunday returned to WHAS Studios for fire department donations.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    161 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    People across Kentuckiana remembered the WHAS Crusade For Children in their wills. Over $ 400,000.00 was bequeathed to the Crusade in 1989.

1990

  • Entertainers

    B.J. Thomas, Cumberlands, Ron McCroby
  • Date

    June 2, 1990
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 2,807,948.09
  • Crusade moment

    The 37th Crusade was plaqued by a series of severe thunderstorms that caused major damage in the Louisville metro area and surrounding counties. The Saturday night concert was cut short because of the threat of a tornado landing in the area. Many fire departments were forced to cut their fundraising efforts short because of the damage caused by the weather.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    173 agencies total
    33 Kentucky counties received grants
    9 Indiana counties received grants
  • Crusade legacy

    With the 2.8 million dollars raised in 1990, the Crusade has given over 37.5 million dollars to agencies helping special needs children. Grants given in 1990 include:
    $ 433,860 to UofL School of Medicine and
    School of Education
    $ 408,589 to to Kosair Children’s Hospital
    $ 300,472 Jefferson County Public Schools

1991

  • Entertainers

    Bobby Goldsboro, Pam Tills
  • Date

    June 1, 1991
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 2,911,000.00
  • Crusade moment

    More corporations join the WHAS Crusade For Children in 1991. For the first time employees from the Kroger Company, Louisville Gas & Electric, and the Ford Motor Company make contributions to the Crusade.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    177 agencies total
    A grant given to the UofL School of Medicine was used to start a genetics lab. A bone marrow transplant department at Kosair Children’s Hospital was also started with the aid of a grant from the Crusade.
  • Crusade legacy

    Over 150 fire departments collect money for the WHAS Crusade For Children. Fire fighter coordinators are a group of firemen who arrange the location and time for fire departments to make their donations. The coordinators for 1991 were:
    Bill Greenwell, Chief Coordinator
    Buddy Head, Oldham County, KY
    Buddy Bomar, Hardin County, KY
    Ed Yount, Central Kentucky
    Don Allen, Floyd County, IN
    Paul Brooks, Shelby County, KY
    Bill Renninger, Jefferson County, KY
    Tom Wolfschlag, Jefferson County, KY
    Tom Boisvert, Jefferson County, KY
    Gart Doyle, Jefferson County, KY
    Ed Meiman, Jefferson County, KY
    Dell Martsellar, Jefferson County, KY
    Don Stewart, Allen County, KY

1992

  • Entertainers

    Alan Thicke
  • Date

    June 6, 1992
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 3,264,400.08
  • Crusade moment

    Eastern Kentucky counties increased their involvement in the Crusade. Pike County, Kentucky’s most eastern county contributes to the Crusade. Eastern Kentucky counties contributed $100,000 in 1992 compared to $20,000 in 1991.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    184 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    The WHAS Crusade For Children was able to fund agencies in 116 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. 60 counties in Indiana received help from agencies funded by the Crusade.

1993

  • Entertainers

    Captain and Tennille, David Ledingham
  • Date

    June 5, 1993
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 4,500,000.00
  • Crusade moment

    The 40th celebration of the Crusade started off with a donation of $735,696.92 in November of 1992. Johnny Pack,a Meade County farmer left the donation to the Crusade in his will. Mr. Pack was a bachelor who kept to himself. Why he left such a large donation to the Crusade was unknown, but much appreciated.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    191 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    The following people were honored for 40 years of service to the Crusade:
    Milton Metz
    Dave Dumeyer
    Joe and Henrietta Laffoon
    Carmel Cullen
    Paul Semones

1994

  • Entertainers

    Brenda Lee
  • Date

    June 4, 1994
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 3,948,732.00
  • Crusade moment

    Crusade 41 was the longest Crusade in history. The show did not go off air until 5:15am Monday, June 6, 1994. Fire Departments raised over 60% of the total contributions. Recipients of the Walton Trophy were: Versailles/Woodford County Fire Departments, Highview Fire Department, and McMahan Fire Department.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    154 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    The UofL School of Medicine received the largest grant in 1994. A grant over $1 million was given to UofL’s Pediatric Division and Children’s Hospital. An emergency grant was later given to a hospital in LaGrange, KY for pediatric ward equipment.

1995

  • Entertainers

    Tammy Wynette
  • Date

    June 3, 1995
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 4,076,078.00
  • Crusade moment

    National City Bank joined the Crusade for the first time in 1995. “The Money Room” was created and ran by over 200 National City volunteers who helped process every check and currency and banked by Monday morning. Crusade supporters contributed 4,219,694 pennies that added to the 45,000 lbs or 22.5 tons of change given to the Crusade in 1995.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    160 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    The Kroger Company donated the largest amount of $265,085 to Crusade 42. Kroger stores throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana raise money for the Crusade.

1996

  • Entertainers

    Doug Stone
  • Date

    June 1, 1996
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 4,948,324.00
  • Crusade moment

    Tornado damage in Bullitt County keeps some fire departments busy during Crusade weekend. Other fire fighters extend their collections to help out those working through the destruction caused by the tornadoes. Fire departments raised over 60% of the total contributions.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    166 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    Chief Fire Coordinator Bill Greenwell retires and passes the position to Colonel Joe Bowman of Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department. Bill’s hardwork was greatly appreciated by all.

1997

  • Entertainers

    Steve Wariner
  • Date

    June 7, 1997
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 5,027,800.00
  • Crusade moment

    Weather continues to effect the Crusade. The Flood of 1997 washed out many fire departments in the southern parts of Kentucky. Other fire fighters moved in to help recover from the loss of southern departments. The Archdiocese of Louisville is awarded for being the first group to raise a total of $3 million for the Crusade.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    159 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    WHAS Television is purchased by the Belo Corporation based in Dallas, Texas. Belo immediately contributes to the Crusade and places a corporate officer on the Crusade Board of Directors. WHAS Radio leaves the building located at 6th & Chestnut but promises continued support to the Crusade from their new location in the Newburg area.

1998

  • Entertainers

    Ricky Skaggs and the Bluegrass Band, Mila Mason
  • Date

    June 6, 1998
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 5,508,243.00
  • Crusade moment

    Highview Fire Department Crusade Representative Bill Nord announced their donation total with great excitement. For the first time ever, Highview defeated PRP’s contributions with a grand total of $252,800.05. A friendly competition between the two departments had existed for years. Finally, Highview came out on top.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    181 agencies total
    A one million dollar grant given to Kosair Children’s Hospital was used to update the Crusade Heart Lab. This was the first million dollar grant given to any single agency.
  • Crusade legacy

    In June of 1998 long time Crusade supporter and WHAS Television personality, Fred Wiche lost his battle with cancer. The community responded with a huge outpouring of memorial gifts to the Crusade totaling several thousand dollars.

1999

  • Entertainers

    Riders in the Sky, Larnell Harris
  • Date

    June 5, 1999
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 5,952,958.00
  • Crusade moment

    For the first time a Crusade group collected over $ 400,000. That group, Highview Fire Department, collected more than any other group in the history of the Crusade.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    188 agencies total
    A grant given to University of Louisville Hospital was used to help in the $6 million renovation at the hospital. The new ward was named the WHAS Crusade For Children Pediatric Unit.
  • Crusade legacy

    Long time Crusade Emcee Wayne Perkey retired in 1999. Crusade 46 was his last television appearance. A portion of Crusade Saturday Night was dedicated to Perkey’s 22 years of service to the Crusade. WHAS Radio personality Terry Meiners was selected as Perkey’s replacement.

2000

  • Entertainers

    Bryan White, Tommy Newsom
  • Date

    June 3, 2000
  • Location

    Brown Theatre, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 6,067,040.00
  • Crusade moment

    Thanks to the help of Crusade volunteer, Bob Schlenk, the Crusade entered a float in the Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade. The float received the Festival Director’s Award.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    191 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    Crusade Executive Director Bud Harbsmeier retired in December of 2000. Bud served the Crusade as Executive Director from 1982 to 2000 helping to raise over 61.1 million dollars. One of Bud’s lasting legacies is the participation of the WHAS Crusade For Children in the Kentucky Employee Charitable Campaign. This gives state employees the option to select the Crusade as their charity of choice for payroll deduction. Dan Miller was named as Bud’s predecessor. Dan was Program Director at WHAS TV for 11 years and had served as a Crusade Board Member and producer of the Crusade show since 1986.

2001

  • Entertainers

    Lee Greenwood
  • Date

    June 2, 2001
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 6,249,958.00
  • Crusade moment

    John McCain, a dedicated Crusade volunteer from Highview Fire Department received the first Buddy Award. The award, named after former Crusade Executive Director Buddy Harbsmeier, was presented to a volunteer who exemplified the true spirit of the Crusade. The award was presented to John’s widow, Jerre.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    201 agencies total
  • Crusade legacy

    The Crusade Panel of Ministers agreed to give the Home of the Innocents $1,000,000.00 over three years to finalize their capital campaign to build a new facility. Kosair Children’s Hospital received nearly one million dollars to grants in 2001 as well.

2002

  • Entertainers

    The Monarchs
  • Date

    June 1, 2002
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 6,262,173.00
  • Crusade moment

    People across the globe could watch the 2002 Crusade for Children telecast via the internet. People could log on the net and make donations as they watched the Crusade on the world wide web.
  • Crusade grant recipients

    174 agencies received grants from the Crusade.
  • Crusade legacy

    The largest grant recipient was Kosair Children’s Hospital receiving over one million dollars. Kosair is one of the nation’s leading Neo-natal Intensive Care Units thanks to grants from the Crusade.

2003

  • Entertainers

    Kenny Rogers, The Neville Brothers and Master Magician Lance Burton
  • Date

    June 7, 2003
  • Location

    Kentucky Center for the Arts, Whitney Hall, Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $6,307,583
  • Crusade moment

    The Crusade achieved a magical milestone at 7:44pm (EDT) on Sunday, June 8, 2003 when Deimitri Miles, the 10-year-old son of Jeffersonville Fire Department Major Clark Miles, took a $1 bill from his father and handed it to someone standing in line next to him.

    The dollar passed through the hands of volunteers, firefighters and police officers into WHAS-TV Studio H to finally reach 7-year-old Naudica Anderson whose eye, and motor skills are related to cerebral palsy. She gently tossed the bill into a “fish bowl” setting off fireworks and great fanfare. What lay ahead – along with fund-raising history – was a nicely alliterative “$100 Million Moment.”

  • Crusade grant recipients

    179 Grants were awarded to 163 different agencies.
  • Crusade legacy

    The three largest grant recipients for 2003 were nine grants to Kosair Children’s Hospital totalling $1,081,065.00; ten grants to the University of Louisville for $741,549.68; and $444,250 to the Home of the Innocents.

2004

  • Entertainers

    Peabo Bryson
  • Date

    June 5, 2004
  • Location

    The Kentucky Center (formerly named the Kentucky Center for the Arts), Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 6,051,236
  • Crusade moment

    A network of five television and eight radio stations across Kentucky carried portions of the 51st Annual Crusade.

    Many, who were a part of it, say Peabo Bryson put on one of the best shows in memory. He met some special needs children before the show and sang out their names during his performance, even invited them to come on stage.

    The most touching moment occurred when he walked through the crowd and hugged special needs children during his rendition of Al Jarreau’s hit, “After All.”

  • Crusade grant recipients

    146 agencies received 177 grants from the Crusade.
  • Crusade legacy

    The largest grant recipient was Kosair Children’s Hospital receiving more than $950,000 followed with a nearly $600,000 grant to the University of Louisville and $345,000 to the Frazier Rehab Institute of Jewish Hospital.

2005

  • Entertainers

    Master Magician Lance Burton
    Magician Mac King
    Comedian Marty Pollio
  • Date

    June 4, 2005
  • Location

    The Kentucky Center
    Bomhard Theater
    Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 5,378,566
  • Crusade moment

    For the first time in recent memory, there was a standing room only crowd on hand for the free kick-off variety show at the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater.

    Many think it was because of talented trio who returned to their hometown to headline the show: Lance Burton, Mac King and Marty Pollio. Others speculate it was because of the free glowing star necklace that was given to everyone in attendance.

    The Miracle Dancers; Diane Moore Dancers; Patrick Hughes; Roger Dane and the Crusade Orchestra; Adrianne Archie; Storefront Congregation; Tim Krekel; Troy Bell; Anissia Anderson and Melissa Combs rounded out the evening.

  • Crusade grant recipients

    190 grants awarded to 148 different agencies in Kentucky and Indiana.
  • Crusade legacy

    On May 25, 2005, Rebecca Jackson was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the WHAS Crusade for Children. She suceeds Dan Miller as only the fifth leader of the Crusade in its 52 year history. The previous executive directors were Jim Walton, Phyllis Knight and Bud Harbsmeier. Ms. Jackson is the first non-WHAS employee to lead the Crusade.

2006

  • Entertainers

    Peabo Bryson

  • Date

    June 3, 2006
  • Location

    The Kentucky Center
    Bomhard Theater
    Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 5,047,554
  • Crusade moment

    A near capacity crowd greeted vocalist Peabo Bryson who had also headlined the 51st annual Crusade in 2004. He’s one of the Crusade’s most engaging performers in recent memory. Stepping off the stage and walking into the crowd, he talked and sang to the children, calling them by name and including them in the show. Nearly 40 kids joined him on stage during his stirring rendition of “A Whole New World'” the theme from Disney’s animated classic “Alladin,” which gained him worldwide acclaim.

    The Miracle Dancers; Diane Moore Dancers; Patrick Hughes; Roger Dane and the Crusade Orchestra; Troy Bell; Anissia Anderson and Melissa Combs rounded out the evening.

  • Crusade grant recipients

    181 grants awarded to 154 different agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    Television pioneer, longtime Crusade for Children host and former executive director is honored with the “Knight Award” during the 53rd annual WHAS Crusade for Children.

    She was greeted with an ovation from the capacity crowd in the Kentucky Center’s Bomhard Theater on Saturday night June 3, 2006. The award was unveiled during the Crusade variety show heard and seen across Kentucky and southern Indiana on the Crusade Network.

    The Knight Award will honor fire departments for gifts given to the WHAS Crusade for Children by bequest. By designation of the estate, or the last known address of the contributor, the bequest will be credited to the appropriate fire department that collects contributions to the Crusade.

2007

  • Entertainers

    Kentucky Headhunters

  • Date

    June 2, 2007
  • Location

    The Kentucky Center
    Bomhard Theater
    Louisville
  • Total money raised

    $ 5,169,387
  • Crusade moment

    Saying they wished they’d done this years ago…the Kentucky Headhunters headlined the 54th annual WHAS Crusade for Children. Bringing their unique flavor of country rock, they cranked up the volume belting out their hits “Dumas Walker” and “Oh Lonesome Me” among others.

    The Miracle Dancers; Diane Moore Dancers; Olivia Smiley; Patrick Hughes; Todd Hildreth and the Crusade Quintet; Fiddler Jeff Guernsey; singers Anissia Anderson and Melissa Combs rounded out the evening.

  • Crusade grant recipients

    181 grants awarded to 154 different agencies
  • Crusade legacy

    One of the original Crusaders, veteran WHAS-TV producer-director Bob Pilkington was honored with the WHAS Crusade for Children Buddy Award.

    Bob was given the award during the 54th annual WHAS Crusade for Children on Sunday, June 3, 2007 in the 3:00pm hour.

    Bob Pilkington is what one would call a TV pioneer. Working at WHAS-TV in the 1950’s and 60’s, he produced daily live TV shows. Writing content like comedy sketches from scratch each and every day. He directed legendary WHAS-TV shows “T-Bar-V” and “Hayloft Hoedown.” This was in the day when all TV was LIVE without the benefit of editing to correct a miscue.

    “Pilk,” as his pals call him, is one of only four people who have participated in all 54 annual WHAS Crusade for Children telethons. And he worked on the two Cerebral Palsy telethons, the granddaddy of the Crusade, that aired on WHAS-TV in 1952 and 1953. The Crusade was born in 1954. The other three original Crusaders are Milton Metz, Ted Throckmorton and Dave Dumeyer, Sr. (see more below).

    Even during this year’s Crusade, Pilk did his usual shift as he’s done for years. Strapping on a headest and telling camera operators what shots to get, he directed the live broadcast in Studio G Control for a 3-hour shift.

    When presented the “Buddy” by Crusade CEO Rebecca Jackson and award namesake Bud Harbsmeier, he was speechless. With his signature dry wit, he said, “I’m just getting back at all the people who did that to me!” Meaning those people who wouldn’t say much when interviewed in Bob’s day.

    But later, he said, “I’m very grateful for the honor and the recognition.” Congratulations Pilk!

    2008

    • Entertainers

      Bryan White
    • Date

      June 7, 2008
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $ 5,249,094
    • Crusade moment

      The 31-hour Internet/radio/telethon kicked off with a stirring variety show headlined by country singer Bryan White and hosted by WHAS11’s Melissa Swan and 84WHAS radio’s Terry Meiners Saturday June 7. It all ended with Crusade volunteers crowding into WHAS-TV studio H singing the traditional “God Bless America” after 10:00pm (EDT) Sunday June 8, 2008.

      “That’s the heart of this community,” said WHAS Crusade for Children CEO Rebecca Jackson. “We are so grateful!”

      Perhaps Mike Schmidt, chief of the Fern Creek Fire Department, summed it up best when he said, “These kids depend on us!”

    • Crusade grant recipients

      184 grants awarded to 156 different agencies in Kentucky and Indiana.
    • Crusade legacy

      Several agencies were awarded more than one grant:

      University of Louisville – 11

      Jefferson County Public Schools – 6

      Kosair Children’s Hospital – 5

      Cardinal Hill – 4

      Western Kentucky University – 3

      Bellarmine University – 2

      Caveland Educational Support Center – 2

      Down Syndrome of Louisville – 2

      Kentucky Center for Special Children’s Services – 2

      Visually Impaired Preschool Services – 2

      Wendell Foster’s Campus – 2

    2009

    • Entertainers

      Confederate Railroad

    • Date

      June 6, 2009
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $ 5,289,841
    • Crusade moment

      All the talk about a down economy didn’t stop people across Kentuckiana from digging deeper for the 2009 Crusade! Grand total: $5,289,841!
      Nearly 200 fire departments, hundreds of organizations and thousands of people made it happen.

      The 31-hour Internet/radio/telethon kicked off with firefighters reporting donations, a touching evening led by The Miracle Dancers, Confederate Railroad and a cast of thousands on Saturday and ended with Crusade volunteers crowding into WHAS-TV studio H singing the traditonal “God Bless America” after 10:00pm Sunday.

    • Crusade grant recipients

      184 grants awarded to 158 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

      When it was all said and sung, the people of Kentuckiana donated $5,289,841 to the 56th annual WHAS Crusade for Children to help children with special needs – topping 2008 by more than $40,000!

      PRP and Archdiocese lead the way
      More than 50 percent of donations are collected by about 200 fire departments in Kentucky and Indiana. Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department led the charge with $269,462. PRP was the fire department that started it all in1956 when Chief Ernie Bohler clenched $400 in his fist in a crowded Memorial Auditorium and challenged all fire departments to get involved.

      The Archdiocese of Louisville led all non-fire department donors with $215,500.

    2010

    • Entertainers

      The Marlins

    • Date

      June 5, 2010
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $ 5,301,182
    • Crusade moment

      After 30+ hours of the radio/Internet/television celebration, about 100 volunteers and supporters of the WHAS Crusade for Children gave this, the 57th annual, a rousing send off with an emotional singing of God Bless America. The Saturday night kick-off was headlined by Kentuckiana’s own brother-foursome, The Marlins. Touching performances by The Miracle Dancers, Patrick Henry Hughes, Samajesty Starr, The Diane Moore Dancers and Melissa Combs led a cast of thousands through a weekend of highly charged moments.

      Nearly 60 percent of donations are collected by about 200 fire departments in Kentucky and Indiana. Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department led the charge with $297,927.55. PRP was the fire department that started it all in1956 when Chief Ernie Bohler clenched $400 in his fist in a crowded Memorial Auditorium and challenged all fire departments to get involved.

      The Archdiocese of Louisville led all non-fire department donors with $216,000.

    • Crusade grant recipients

      191 grants awarded to 155 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

      When it was all said and sung, the people of Kentuckiana donated $5,301,182 to the 57th annual WHAS Crusade for Children to help children with special needs – topping 2009 by more than $11,000!

      When asked why she thought, in a waivering economy, the Crusade would end with its highest total since 2005, Crusade President & CEO Dawn Lee said, “…because the Crusade is magical and the people of Kentuckiana are amazing.”

      Broadcast outlets put aside any competitive differences for the betterment of children. The weekend included endless live coverage on flagship broadcast outlets WHAS-TV and 84WHAS Radio; as well as six hours on WBKI-TV, Louisville; four hours on WBKO-TV, Bowling Green; two hours on WQWQ-TV, Paducah; and 2 hours on each of the seven Commonwealth Broadcasting radio stations.

      Three departments honor a fallen hero
      Three fire departments: Buechel, Okolona and Camp Taylor presented a combined contribution in memory of fallen Buechel firefighter Terry Cannon who died earlier this year. In a tear-filled moment, Buechel Fire Protection District Chief Jonathan Yuodis said, “Terry was a great man.”

    2011

    • Entertainers

      The Louisville Leopards Percussionists

    • Date

      June 4, 2011
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $ 5,301,881
    • Crusade moment

      The Miracle Dancers; Diane Moore Dancers; Patrick Hughes; Roger Dane and the Crusade Orchestra; Troy Bell; Anissia Anderson and Melissa Combs rounded out the evening.

    • Crusade grant recipients

      181 grants awarded to 154 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

      For the eighth straight year, WBKI-TV, the CW Louisville will air portions of the 58th annual Crusade for Children. As part of the Crusade Network, WBKI will broadcast live from Elizabethtown, Kentucky (Sunday Noon to 1:30pm EDT), Shelbyville, Kentucky (Sunday 1:30pm to 4:00pm EDT) and Bardstown, Kentucky (Sunday 4:00pm to 6:00pm EDT). Bobby Jack Murphy and WBKI’s Dave Kastan will host the segments from Elizabethtown and Bardstown while WHAS11First Alert Storm Team Meteorologist Ben Pine will host the Shelbyville broadcast. They will welcome area fire departments and civic groups with their fundraising efforts to make life better for special needs children.

      In addition to WBKI-TV, for the ninth consecutive year, WBKO-TV in Bowling Green will air live broadcasts from Columbia, Kentucky and Rough River State Resort Park on both Saturday and Sunday hosted by WBKO’s Chris Allen. WQWQ-TV in Paducah brings the Crusade Variety Show to viewers in Western Kentucky 7:00pm to 10:00pm (CDT) Saturday.

      Top five fire departments
      Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District $301,097.61
      Fern Creek Fire Department $251,668.50
      McMahan Fire Protection District $128,358.05
      Zoneton Fire Department $95,350
      Highview Fire Department $94,531.21

      Top Southern Indiana fire departments
      Lafayette Township VFD $65,674
      Jeffersonville Fire Department $55,920
      Charlestown VFD $51,779

      Top five non-fire contributor
      Archdiocese of Louisville $222,215
      Republic Bank $180,000
      LG&E/Kentucky Utilities $177,555
      Louisville Triple Crown of Running $160,243
      Jefferson County Public Schools $153,262.38

    2012

    • Entertainers

      Many local acts

    • Date

      June 2, 2012
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $ 5,189,348.69
    • Crusade moment

      The 59th annual WHAS Crusade for Children came to a close Sunday, June 3 at 7:00pm EDT with the singing of “God Bless America” in WHAS11 Studio H. At the conclusion of the marathon 30+ hour internet/radio/telethon, the final tote board read $5,189,348.69. With that amount, the Crusade’s 59 year total is now more than $148 million in donations to support children with special needs across Kentucky and Indiana.

      The Miracle Dancers
      Diane Moore Dancers
      Tim French, pianist
      J. D. Shelburne, country singer
      Storefront Congregation, bluegrass performers
      Melissa Combs, vocalist
      Jeff and Ivan Guernsey with The Bibelhauser Brothers
      Todd Hildreth and the Crusade Quintet
      Patrick Hughes, Crusade favorite
      David Garrard, magician
      Sam Majesty Starr, vocalist
      Mark Atcher Band
      MojoBey
      Michelle Sydnor
      Holly Stewart
      Joann Dickson
      Season at Sea

    • Crusade grant recipients

      181 grants awarded to 154 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

    2013

    • Entertainers

      For the third time in Crusade history, Peabo Bryson headlined the 60th WHAS Crusade for Children.

    • Date

      June 1, 2013
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $ $6,001,342.00
    • Crusade moment

      At the close of the 60th annual WHAS Crusade for Children the goal of $6 million set by the Crusade staff a few months ago was realized. Live on WHAS11, 84WHAS and whas11.com, the toteboard rolled up one more time to reveal the total of $6,001,342.00.

      The Miracle Dancers
      Diane Moore Dancers
      Tim French, pianist
      J. D. Shelburne, country singer
      Melissa Combs, vocalist
      Jeff and Ivan Guernsey with The Bibelhauser Brothers
      Todd Hildreth and the Crusade Quintet
      Patrick Hughes, Crusade favorite
      David Garrard, magician
      Sam Majesty Starr, vocalist

    • Crusade grant recipients

      217 grants awarded to 186 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

      Milton Metz, a longtime WHAS radio and television personality, said in a Monday Courier-Journal article that it has been a privilege to watch the organization grow and that he is inspired by his participation in the Crusade.

      “The weight of the pennies is enough to give you a hernia, they give you so much,” Mr. Metz said. “You realize that it transcends politics or race or age, farmers or city people giving millions of dollars.”

      From firefighters holding boots at local intersections to the telethon this past weekend, the Crusade is visible in our community, and a reminder of the good that can be done by caring people.

      Top 5 Kentucky Fire Departments
      Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District $318,002.40
      McMahan Fire Protection District $191,456.87
      Fern Creek Fire Department $161,696.25
      Highview Fire District $107,143.13
      Zoneton Fire Protection District $85,786.91

      Top 5 Indiana Fire Departments
      Lafayette Township Fire Department $85,873.21
      Charlestown Volunteer Fire Department $43,632.90
      Greenville Fire Department $34,543
      Ramsey VFD & EMS $28,360.10
      Georgetown Township Fire District $27,400.42

      Top 5 Organizations
      Archdiocese of Louisville $260,000
      Louisville Triple Crown of Running $190,126.00
      LG&E/Kentucky Utilities $187,548.00
      Norton Healthcare $136,620.35
      Jefferson County Public Schools Students and Staff $136,575.95

    2014

    • Entertainers

      Country singer J. D. Shelburne headlined the 61st WHAS Crusade for Children.

    • Date

      June 7, 2014
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $5,637,680
    • Crusade moment

      100 percent of $160 million = $160 million
      In its first 61 years, the Crusade has raised $160 million for children with special needs. 100 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. The WHAS Crusade for Children is America’s most successful local telethon.

      J. D. Shelburne, country singer
      Patrick Hughes, Crusade favorite
      Melissa Combs, vocalist
      The Miracle Dancers
      The Diane Moore Dancers
      Second Chance, neo soul group
      Southern Sirens, pop country
      Todd Hildreth and the Crusade Quintet
      David Garrard, magician
      Mojo Bay, classic rockers

    • Crusade grant recipients

      219 grants awarded to 182 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

      Hashtag #WHASCrusade
      For fans of social media, the Crusade encouraged everyone to use the hashtag #WHASCrusade when tweeting about the Crusade on Twitter. This created an ongoing dialog and fun for Crusade supporters. You can follow the Crusade on Twitter any time: @CrusadeChildren or www.twitter.com/crusadechildren. Join the conversation!

      Throughout Crusade weekend, there were continual Facebook updates as well. Be sure to make the Crusade your friend at www.facebook.com/crusadechildren.

      And for the first time, Crusade t-shirts, firefighter boots and other donation points featured a QR code sticker. When scanned with a smart phone, donors are connected to the Crusade’s mobile donation site where they can make a contribution securely and credit the fire department of their choice.

      Top 5 Kentucky Fire Departments
      Pleasure Ridge Park Fire District $286,435
      Fern Creek Fire Department $142,725
      McMahan Fire Protection District $120,677
      Highview Fire District $107,329
      Zoneton Fire Protection District $78,917

      Top 5 Indiana Fire Departments
      Lafayette Township Fire Department $93,052
      Charlestown Fire Department $52,481
      Clarksville Fire Department $41,163
      Jeffersonville Fire Department $38,255
      Sellersburg Fire Department $35,000

      Top 5 Organizations
      Archdiocese of Louisville $297,000
      Kosair Charities $250,000
      LG&E KU PPL Companies $191,072
      Louisville Triple Crown of Running $142,639
      Norton Healthcare $138,722

    2015

    • Entertainers

      Comedian Magician Mac King headlined the 62nd WHAS Crusade for Children.

    • Date

      June 6, 2015
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $5,674,721
    • Crusade moment

      On the weekend that American Pharoah became horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, the people of Kentucky and Indiana put their money on another sure bet, the 62nd annual WHAS Crusade for Children. The final tote board tallied $5,674,721 as America’s most successful local telethon came to a close.

      The 30-hour Internet/radio/telethon kicked off with a magical variety show headlined by comedy magician Mac King and hosted by WHAS11’s Melissa Swan and 840 WHAS radio’s Terry Meiners on Saturday, June 6. It all ended with Crusade volunteers crowding into WHAS11’s historic studio H singing the traditional “God Bless America” just before 7:00pm (EDT) Sunday June 7, 2015.

      Crusade 62 marked the first Crusade to be televised in high definition (HD) from start to finish. Some recent years featured only portions in HD.

      Patrick Henry Hughes and his father, Crusade favorite
      Melissa Combs, vocalist
      The Miracle Dancers
      The Diane Moore Dancers
      Zooperstars
      Audrey Bell Adams
      Michelle Sydnor
      The Latkovski Sisters
      Southern Sirens, pop country
      Todd Hildreth and the Crusade Quintet
      Jeff & Ivan Guernsey
      Misty Mountain String Band

    • Crusade grant recipients

      217 grants awarded to 191 different agencies
    • Crusade legacy

      Milton Metz, Bob Pilkington and Ted Throckmorton continued on as the three who have participated in every Crusade weekend — that’s 62 straight years! Milton interviewed Kelly Knoop and her family in the Bomhard Theater on Saturday night as part of the Crusade variety show. Bob took to the director’s chair Sunday afternoon calling the camera shots from WHAS11’s historic studio H. Ted was seemingly everywhere helping coordinate phone operators and pledges throughout the weekend.

      Top Five Kentucky Fire Departments

      Pleasure Ridge Park Fire District $294,246.87
      Fern Creek Fire Department $137,956.26
      Highview Fire District $130,159.59
      McMahan Fire Protection District $126,114.00
      Zoneton Fire Protection District $87,029.37

      Top Five Indiana Fire Departments

      Lafayette Township Fire Department $104,897.44
      Charlestown Fire Department $47,000.00
      Greenville Fire Department $36,730.10
      Clarksville Fire Department $34,127.54
      Georgetown Township Volunteer Fire Department $29,146.86

      Top Five Organizations

      Archdiocese of Louisville $290,247
      LG&E KU PPL Companies $195,004
      Kosair Charities $150,000
      Louisville Triple Crown of Running $134,350
      Norton Healthcare $130,568

      See and read more!

      See more Crusade coverage from WHAS11, just click here.

      Read more Crusade coverage from the Courier-Journal, just click here.

      Watch Mac King again

      Comedian magician Mac King headlined the 62nd annual WHAS Crusade for Children, watch his performance online just click here.

      Watch More Crusade 62

      There are many segments ready for online viewing at WHAS11.com, just click here.

    2016

  • Entertainers

    Teddy Abrams Jazz Band headlined the 63rd WHAS Crusade for Children.

    • Date

      June 4, 2016
    • Location

      The Kentucky Center
      Bomhard Theater
      Louisville
    • Total money raised

      $5,465,933.47
      Crusade moment

      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.

      Patrick Henry Hughes
      Melissa Combs
      Gillian Stith
      The Miracle Dancers
      The Diane Moore Dancers
      Tim French
      Michelle Sydnor
      Between the Lines
      Johnny Berry and The Outliers
      Quiet Hollers
      Ron Jones Quartet
      Todd Hildreth and the Crusade Quintet
      Jeff & Ivan Guernsey

    • Crusade grant recipients

      230 grants awarded to 202 different agencies
      Crusade legacy

      Milton Metz, Bob Pilkington and Ted Throckmorton had continued on as the three who have participated in every Crusade weekend. Ted passed away in December. In his spirit, son Dave and grandson DJ carried on the tradition of assisting and organizing phone operators as Ted had for 62 years. Ted will be missed.

      Milton interviewed Kelly Knoop and her family in the Bomhard Theater on Saturday night as part of the Crusade variety show. Bob took to the director’s chair Sunday afternoon calling the camera shots from WHAS11’s historic studio H.

      Top Five 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 Five 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

      Top Organizations

      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

      See and read more!

      See more Crusade coverage from WHAS11, the Courier Journal and more, just click here.