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.

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of donations go to children

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Million dollars raised

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Counties in Indiana and Kentucky

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Years Running


Countdown to the 68th annual WHAS Crusade for Children
June 5 - 6, 2021

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Latest News

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.


Change a Child's Life Forever

100% of each donation to the WHAS Crusade for Children helps children with special needs.

The WHAS Crusade Endowment Campaign fully funds our future.

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Attend An Event

Hundreds of fire departments, organizations and companies host events that benefit the WHAS Crusade for Children. Learn more.

Community Partners

We crusade for them

In its first 67 years, the WHAS Crusade for Children has raised more than $195 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.

WHAS Crusade for Children

520 W. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202
502.582.7706 Phone
502.582.7712 Fax
Email us CLICK HERE

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