By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO February 26, 2002 Healthy living and community giving was the order of the day Saturday, as WSUL hosted its annual Heart-A-Thon to benefit the American Heart Association and the Cardio-Pulmonary Department of Catskill Regional Medical Center.
This year's Heart-A-Thon took place at Kutsher's Country Club in Monticello. They set a record this year with a total of $56,198. The majority of that money will stay in the county and benefit local residents.
This year, the event was co-chaired by Kathleen LaBuda and Ira Gold.
"It has been excellent," commented LaBuda. "It has been a beautiful day. It's nice to see everyone come out and support us. I am impressed and proud of this county."
"It has been going extremely well," Gold remarked. "I'm very glad I did it. It has been a wonderful experience. It is amazing to see the community come together like this. I can't wait to do it again next year."
While everyone worked hard, they did have fun. Due to an oversight, Gold did not have a nametag. To make up for this, volunteer Jack Etter made him one on the back of a WSUL t-shirt. It was presented to him while on the air.
Many groups and community individuals came out to show their support and make donations. Representatives of Catskill Regional Medical Center, the Monticello Rotary, Sullivan County Community College, the Sullivan County Visitors Association, the Monticello Kiwanis, and veterans organizations gave donations on air. Attorneys, doctors, village, town, and county officials came out to support the cause.
"The people of Sullivan County are most fortunate to have an individual such as Bill Reynolds [WSULs owner] and his staff who do such a wonderful job for the people of Sullivan County by raising vital funds for the American Heart Association and Catskill Regional Medical Center," stated one of the event organizers and longtime volunteer David Kaufman. "We are doing exceptionally well. I wasn't sure what effect 9/11 would have on our efforts, but the numbers look good."
"Every year this event gets bigger and better," CRMC Director of Volunteers and County Legislator Jodi Goodman said. "This year is more personal for me. Earlier this year, my mother suffered from tachycardia [rapid heart rate]. The staff at the hospital didn't let go of her physically or mentally. It showed me how important this event is and gave it stronger meaning."
Another special part of the day involved local students. Young people from Monticello High School's Medical Careers Club were there to help any way they could. They answered phones, counted money, and rang bells for donations over $50. Those bells rang a great deal throughout the day.
There were also students from BOCES Nursing Program. They took people's blood pressure and offered healthy tips to those who asked.
While raising money for a good cause was important to him, Reynolds offered a different perspective on the day.
"Our main goal is to give out information for people to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle," Reynolds said. "It is more important that people are healthy and they change their lifestyle."
It has not been decided what equipment will be purchased for the hospital, although it was hoped there would be enough to purchase a scanner.
And yes, plans are already in place to break this years new record next year.