Village reaches out to those in need

By Nikki Blankenship -

NEW BOSTON — The Village of New Boston has a long history of helping those with disabilities and challenges from supporting the Autism Project of Southern Ohio and hosting the annual autism walk to working with the Kiwanis Club of New Boston for the installation of a handicap accessible swing at Millbrook Park.

Tuesday night, New Boston agreed to take on a new task of helping those with muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.

During Tuesday night’s Village Council meeting, Council was addressed by Ronnie Galloway, who works for the Village through a community employment program that allows individuals with disabilities to attain vocational skills and independence through work done for community employers.

Galloway, who affectionately calls New Boston Mayor William Williams “papaw,” asked Council, the Mayor and Village Administrator Steve Hamilton for help raising funds for muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy by hosting a telethon.

According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Founder Paul Cohen reached out to entertainers Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, asking them to be champions for the cause, raising money for muscular dystrophy and bringing awareness to the cause. The duo then hosted the first muscular dystrophy telethon in 1956. Lewis would go on to host several others before hosting the first nationally broadcast MDA Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon in 1971. Lewis retired as host of the telethon in 2011. The MDA canceled the telethon in 2015, two years before Lewis’ death.

“I’m trying to get muscular dystrophy telethon back on the air again,” Galloway explained. “I’m here for the kids. There’s a lot of kids out there that can’t get social security and need new wheelchairs.”

Galloway, who supported the local effort before the telethon was canceled, also stressed the need for funding for further research.

During the telethon, there were local volunteer call centers set up where locals could donate to the national effort. He explained that his step-mom, who died in 1995, helped him to take calls at the rest home where he was residing. Galloway stated the he and his step-mom would work with local fire departments and bands to create awareness and provide entertainment.

“My mom ran it until she passed away. We ran it together,” Galloway stated. “Now, I run it, and I can’t run it by myself. I need help. As a matter of fact, I want Steve (Hamilton) to be my partner.”

Though he can’t bring back the national telethon, Galloway wants to ensure people know the need and see television as an answer.

“These kids I would work, I see them, and they need more help,” he stressed before Council.

The Village, who admittedly had no experience with telethons, was still eager to help the cause.

“We’ll talk and get some planning,” Williams told Galloway. “I can’t say I know much about running a telethon, but we’ll see what we can do.”

Hamilton, who says he can’t take the place of the work done by Galloway’s step-mom, stated that he will contact local television stations and see if there is way the Village can help Galloway in his effort.

Galloway explained that what funds he can raise, he would like to donate to the MDA.

According to the MDA, the organization funds approximately 150 research projects around the world, awarded nearly 70 research grants in 2016 with a total funding commitment of more than $16 million and have contributed to numerous ongoing clinical trials. The MDA also provides care and support for individuals and families impacted by muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy.

By Nikki Blankenship

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.