About the WHAS Crusade for Children

The WHAS Crusade for Children, Inc. established in 1954 by WHAS-TV, raises money for agencies, schools and hospitals to make life better for children with special needs.


of donations go to children


Million dollars raised


of children helped


Counties in Indiana and Kentucky


Years Running

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Happy New Year!

Longtime Crusader Ronnie Bobblett dies

Ronnie Bobblett hosts fire departments in Bardstown during the 67th annual WHAS Crusade for Children on August 9, 2020

Ronnie Bobblett with grandson Hunter and son Kevin in 2019 during the 66th annual Crusade

Ronnie (center) flanked by TV hosts Craig Hoffman and Bobby Jack Murphy during the 2010 WHAS Crusade for Children

From the Nelson County Gazette, December 30, 2020:

Obituary: Ronnie Dewayne Bobblett, 72, Bloomfield

Ronnie Dewayne Bobblett, 72, of Bloomfield, died Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at his home. He was born in Washington County on Aug. 31, 1948, to the late Wilmer Leon and Ethel Hill Bobblett. He was a member of the Willisburg Church Of God Of Prophecy; a retired employee of the General Electric Company; the former Mayor of Bloomfield; retired fire chief of the Northeast Nelson Fire Department; and served as the regional coordinator for the WHAS Crusade For Children.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly Young Bobblett (March 30, 2005).

Survivors include his one son, Kevin Bobblett (Missy) of Willisburg; one sister, Veda Spalding (Herman) of Bardstown; one brother, Charles Bobblett (Peggy) of Chaplin; one grandson, Hunter Bobblett; two nieces, Adrienne Berry (Sammy) and their children, Emma and Graham; Amanda Bright (Derrick) and their children, Reagan and Bode; two nephews, Chris Bobblett (Jeanette) and their children, Logan, Cole and Solomon; Josh Bobblett (Vanessa) and their children, Caleb and Jacobi.

The funeral is 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021 at the Willisburg Church Of God Of Prophecy with the Rev. Keith Creech, the church pastor, officiating. Burial is in the Evergreen Cemetery at Willisburg.

Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, 2020, at the church.

Serving as pallbearers will be Chris Bobblett, Josh Bobblett, Adrienne Berry, Amanda Bright, Dee Meeks, Matt Baenziger, Terry Scrogham and Tim Scroghan.

Carey & Son Funeral Home in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.

There are many ways to make a year-end donation

By phone

Call 502-582-7706, leave your name and number, someone will get back to you.

Donate by Mail

Even though our office is closed for now during the pandemic, we are able to access our mail.
Send your donation to:
WHAS Crusade for Children
520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202.

Please be sure to make note if the donation is in honor or memory of someone or if you’d like to give credit to a certain fire department.

Donate Securely Online

Give online safely and securely. There is a section where someone can honor/memorialize a loved one or credit a fire department.

Text to Donate

Supporters can now text CRUSADE to 50155 to complete a donation. There is the ability to honor a fire department on the donation link.


Venmo a donation to @CrusadeForChildren. You can credit your fire department in the comments section.

Cash App

Just like Venmo, use Cash App and make a secure donation to $CrusadeChildren. You can credit your fire dept. in the notes section.


If you use PayPal, you can use it to donate to the WHAS Crusade for Children!


If you have an Amazon smart device, just say, “Alexa, donate to the Crusade for Children…” and Alexa will walk you through your secure donation, charging it to your card on file with Amazon.

Donate via Facebook

Go to the Crusade’s Facebook page to donate securely online. Facebook does not keep any fees for a charitable donation!

Donations are tax deductible

The WHAS Crusade for Children, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Gifts are tax deductible as permitted by law. EIN #23-7075524.

Watch the Crusade’s year-end special

The WHAS Crusade for Children’s annual year-end special, “Building the Future”, is on YouTube right now (see embedded video above). It’s hosted by 840 WHAS radio’s Terry Meiners and Kristin Goodwillie of WHAS11 News.

It’s a special about the Crusade Endowment. You’ll hear from the son of a broadcast legend, a young Kentucky transplant now living in California, and from investment experts who all agree: it is a great time of year to help ensure that the WHAS Crusade for Children thrives in the midst of a pandemic. You’ll learn about the many ways to give and how you can make a difference in the life of a child.

The endowment is critical every year, but even more so during this pandemic.

The 30-minute program will air on WHAS11:
Sunday, January 3 at 5:30am

From the Courier-Journal, December 11th:

Louisville – Leonard E. Heydt, 75 of Louisville passed away on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

He was a Western Kentucky University graduate. Leonard dedicated forty years of his life as a firefighter. He started his career as a volunteer firefighter and was later an Assistant Chief. He was appointed Fire Chief for the Harrods Creek Fire Department in 1974, and served in that position for twenty-seven years. Leonard also served as president of the Jefferson County Fire Chiefs Association for multiple terms.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Marie Heydt.

Leonard is survived by his wife of fifty-three years, Marilee J. Heydt, his sisters, Pamela Heydt and Marianne Heydt Bosco (Charles), nieces, nephews and numerous friends.

Visitation will be at Arch L. Heady & Son at Westport Village, 7410 Westport Rd. and the Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Leonard Catholic Church with entombment to follow at Resthaven Mausoleum.

Due to coronavirus restrictions the visitation, funeral mass and cemetery service will be private. Those who would like to honor Chief Heydt may join his funeral procession to the church, leaving the funeral home at 9:30 am on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 and after the church service to the cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the WHAS Crusade for Children at www.whascrusade.org

To sign the online guestbook or leave condolences for the family, please visit us at www.archlheadywestport.com

Zoneton Fire Chief Rob Orkies dies

From the Courier-Journal, December 14th:

Shepherdsville – Chief Robert Lee Orkies, age 55, of Shepherdsville returned to his Heavenly Father on December 11, 2020 from a brief line of duty illness. Chief Orkies was born on April 8, 1965 in Louisville, KY to the late Bill and Patricia (Russell) Orkies.

Rob was a dedicated public servant who loved being with his family and always encouraged his firefighters that “family comes first.” He enjoyed fishing, camping, telling old stories, and serving his community. He lived life to the fullest and his compassion was larger than life.

Chief Orkies was a community-oriented Fire Chief. The WHAS Crusade for Children, the Zoneton Fire District Halloween Program and the Zoneton Santa fire truck were his passion and proudest accomplishments. He endured many cold nights on top of the Santa truck and wore countless goofy Halloween costumes just to bring pride and joy to the citizens of Zoneton.

Chief Orkies began his fire service career at the Okolona Fire Department in 1984, rising to the rank of Captain. He returned to his home community of Zoneton, joining the fire district there in 1994 as a volunteer. He was hired by the former Edgewood Fire Protection District as its Fire Chief. He was later hired as full time Zoneton Fire Chief in 2003.

Rob never met a stranger and was a friend to all in Bullitt County. He was highly respected for his fire service leadership. Most importantly, he will always be remembered as a kind, gentle, caring, and generous person that could light up any room with his warm smile and kind heart.

He leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife of 35 years, Billie Jo (Goins) Orkies; son, Patrick Orkies (Sabrina); daughter, Trish Jackson (Chaz); granddaughters, Preslie Orkies and Rylee Jackson; sisters, Karen Rodgers (Jimmy), Alice Corley (Rick), Sherri Colwell (Ed) and Patti Tolle (David); stepmom, Beatrice Orkies; stepsisters, Mary Ann Brown (Tony) and Jennifer Lynch; in-laws, Bill and Linda Goins; brother-in-law, David Goins (Amanda); and a host of nieces and nephews.

Funeral service with full fire service honors will be conducted at 11 am on Friday, December 18, 2020 at Okolona Christian Church (10801 Faithful Way) with interment in Brookland Cemetery. Family and friends may pay their respects on Wednesday from 11-8 and Thursday from 12-8 at Schoppenhorst, Underwood and Brooks Funeral Home (Preston Highway at Brooks Road). Expressions of sympathy may be made to the WHAS Crusade for Children in honor of Zoneton Fire District. www.subfuneralhome.com

Zoneton fire chief dies after fight with cancer, COVID-19

From WHAS11.com, December 11th:

A week into his cancer treatments, Chief Rob Orkies tested positive for COVID-19 and was later placed on a ventilator.
Zoneton Fire Chief Rob Orkies has passed away following his battle with both cancer and COVID-19.

Rich Carlson with Zoneton Fire said Orkies passed died Friday. A procession will escort Orkies from Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital to Schoppenhorst Funeral Home.

“He was respected by all who knew him,” Carlson said. “All of us are deeply saddened by his death. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Capt. Steven Corbin said Orkies was like a father to many guys in the department. Firefighters created a fundraiser for the Orkies family with t-shirts that read, “In this family, no one fights alone.”

Fire departments from across the country have reached out to Zoneton Fire in support of Orkies, with their neighbors in Jefferson County, Shepherdsville, Okolona and Mount Washington using the chief’s call number, 8101.

Most recently, Zoneton honored Orkies during one of his favorite community events — Santa’s visit to local neighborhoods. This year’s fire truck was decked out in his favorite colors, red and white, along with a hint of green to bring attention to the fight against COVID-19.

Carlson said the fire department’s flags will fly at half-mast. WHAS11 will provide more information when plans to honor Orkies are released.

From the Courier-Journal, December 11th:

“Respected by all”: Kentucky fire chief dies after battling cancer and coronavirus
Ayana Archie
Louisville Courier Journal

A fire chief in Bullitt County, Kentucky died Friday after being diagnosed with coronavirus and previously fighting cancer.

“It is with deepest sympathy and regret that we announce the death of Chief Robert Orkies,” the Zoneton Fire Protection District said in a Facebook post.

Orkies worked in fire service for more than three decades, the post said, and joined the Zoneton department in 1994.

“He was respected by all who knew him,” the department said. “All of us are deeply saddened by his death. Our condolences and prayers go out to his family and friends. This is a difficult time for the entire Fire Department, and we will need to come together to get through it.”

Flags at the facility will be flown at half mast in honor of Orkies.

We crusade for them

In its first 68 years, the WHAS Crusade for Children has raised more than $200 million. Thanks to generous contributions of goods and services, the WHAS Crusade is able to return 100% of all donations to organizations that make life better for children with special needs in all 120 Kentucky counties and 50 southern Indiana counties. Fire departments raise more than 50 percent of the money each year by staging road blocks and other events.

Countdown to the 69th annual WHAS Crusade for Children
June 4 - 5, 2022

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Community Partners

WHAS Crusade for Children

520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202
502.582.7706 Phone
502.582.7712 Fax