Thursday, March 29, 2001

Money donations pour forth on behalf of disabled Scouts

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        EVENDALE — Explorer Post 2025, a group of 48 Scouts with severe mental disabilities, received thousands of dollars in pledges Wednesday to help keep it afloat, and more donations are expected.

        “We are amazed and overwhelmed and overcome and any of those overworked superlatives you want to use,” said Mike Hernandez, the post's coordinator.

        As of late afternoon, he said, about $6,500 had been promised by nearly a dozen callers, including one who “offered to give us funding every year.”

        WLW radio personality Jim Scott announced a personal donation of $2,500 during his morning show Wednesday.

        The outpouring followed an Enquirer story Wednesday that reported the post did not receive the expected renewal of a private foundation's annual grant of $2,500 to $3,000. The money is used for programs and field trips for the Explorer Scouts, who range in age from 20 to 80.

        Claude Rost, communications coordinator for the Hamilton County Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MRDD), which sponsors the post, called the response “great news.... It is wonderful to know there are so many people out there willing to help.”

        Mr. Hernandez said the generosity will allow the post to try more ambitious outings.

        “Many of these Scouts have never been on a camp-out. One of the things we are considering is an overnight camp-out, in cabins in a controlled environment,” he said.

        Mr. Scott said he was touched by the newspaper story because, as a child, he was afflicted with polio and was sent to the Reconstruction Home in Ithaca. N.Y., for six months of physical therapy. It was there, Mr. Scott said, he was introduced to Scouting.

        “It brought that (experience) back to me, so we started talking about their need (on radio),” he said. “I'll be at their next meeting.”

       Donations are tax-deducible. Call Mike Hernandez, 243-6719, for information.


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