The Daviess County Fiscal Court meeting commenced Thursday night with the presentation of donation checks to representatives from five area organizations. These organizations included the Joe Ford Nature Center, Owensboro Pickle Ball Association, the Senior Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, the Trinity High School Wrestling Team and Apollo DanceBlue. All told, the organizations had a record-setting five-week fundraising total of $16,196.53.
This year’s collection totals for the Christmas light display at Panther Creek were not only larger than any other year, but they also set records in several different categories, including an increase in percentage of the amount raised in previous years.
Daviess County Commissioner George Wathen said, “30 percent more people came and paid than ever have.”
Daviess County Parks & Recreation Director Ross Leigh agreed that it was indeed a record year for Panther Creek Park and that “all five agencies worked very diligently to be able to represent Daviess County’s Fiscal Court very well.”
“Over the last 15 years, since 2004,” Leigh said, “Daviess County has collected $143,341 — or 37,000 cars have come through the likes of Panther Creek.”
Jennifer Allen received $3,296.25 on behalf of the Senior Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, followed by Deborah Branch who accepted $3,192 on behalf of the Joe Ford Nature Center.
With the highest total ever collected and the largest amount of cars seen in one week (1,974 in week 5), Sue Mills accepted $5,925.72 on behalf of the Trinity High School Wrestling Team.
“To raise money where you’re also performing a service is a wonderful thing,” Mills said. “Hopefully the County can find more and more ways that that can take place.”
Rene Kuegel with the Owensboro Pickle Ball Association received a check for $1,755, before Apollo High School seniors Trevor Payne and Grace Bush accepted $2,027.55 on behalf of Apollo DanceBlue to fund pediatric cancer research.
“We’re really happy that the County’s committed to helping us with our cause,” Payne said.
Club sponsor Melissa Jarboe said Apollo DanceBlue also set records for week two collection and that she thoroughly enjoyed the experience with her students as they brought snacks and listened to Christmas music together on collection days.
“They worked really hard for this,” Jarboe said. “I like them to have some moments of sheer joy.”