When the Fulton County Heart Radiothon goes on the air at 6 am tomorrow, Thursday, it will be dedicated to one man: Richard Batdorf, who was a board member of the organization for years and was a constant fixture at Radiothon events.
A certified public accountant with his own business in Wauseon, Batdorf was Radiothon treasurer for many years, keeping track of thousands of donated dollars.
In an interview with this newspaper, Batdorf said his father died of a heart attack years ago. He then dedicated himself to the Radiothon, which raises money for heart-related projects in the county.
Ron Murd, a Radiothon board member, said it was ironic that Rich himself died of heart-related issues on June 9, 2015.
Murd said Batdorf was mowing the lawn at his office when he collapsed.
Bystanders attempted CPR and he was rushed to the hospital, but efforts were for naught.
“He will be missed,” Murd said.
It is the 42nd consecutive year for the Radiothon, which is broadcast over Archbold station WMTR.
Local celebrity disc jockeys, including public safety officials, coaches, and business leaders, will accept pledges of support to play requested songs on station airwaves.
A major project of the Radiothon has been purchasing and stationing Automatic External Defibrillators, or AEDs, throughout the county.
The devices, designed to be used by bystanders with a minimum amount of training, can electronically diagnose a heart that has lost its beat and administer a lifesaving jolt of electricity to reestablish the rhythm.
“We have 122 of them out there, and we have requests for three more that I need to run by the board,” Murd said.
AEDs are only good for about 10 to 12 years before they must be replaced.
Murd said there is only one of the original batch of AEDs purchased with Radiothon funds left.
The board has allocated $3,300 of the $24,000 fundraising goal to replace them and two other units.
Each AED contains a set of electrically conductive adhesive pads that bystanders apply to the victim before the machine can begin its diagnosis, and if necessary, electric shock.
The pads must be replaced every two years, at a cost of $49 for each set.
The batteries in the AEDs are only good for three years. Each replacement set costs $250.
The Radiothon board has allocated $6,000 to replace pads and batteries, the largest share of the 2016 Radiothon budget.
Fulton County AEDs have been successfully used to save lives, including that of a local man who collapsed at an Archbold High School basketball game.
The board has also allocated money to go to the Teen Tickers program, which screens the blood of freshmen and seniors in Fulton County high schools for cholesterol levels; community blood screenings; and other heart-related programs.
Murd said it has been estimated that over the last 42 years, the Radiothon has raised about $800,000.