May 4—Much like Kentucky Derby after which it is named, the Wilson County Community Help Center's Ducky Derby is a hooting and hollering good time for a good cause.
After Saturday's party in Lebanon, the help center's executive director, Karen Rudzinski, said over $50,000 was raised. That money came by way of donations and a game of chance guests as well as those not attending could participate in.
For $10, a person could buy a rubber duck to be dropped into a selection pool. From the collective, a first, second and third place winner would be drawn. The fortunate recipient of this year's grand prize was Christine New, whose lucky duck reeled in a grand catch of $7,380. Not too bad considering New's number was chosen from over 3,700 rubber ducks in the pool.
However, New graciously donated her winnings back to the charitable cause, a gesture that Rudzinski said highlighted what the event was all about, raising as much money as possible to aid the community help center's operations.
Additional first, second and third prizes were awarded for "best hat." Dorie Mitchell took home the prize, while Jennifer Moreland finished runner-up and Carolyn Walker finished third.
Rudzinski said the center's goal had been about $30,000, which was blown right past. She was relieved to report those numbers. The first-year director may not have been in charge last year, but she knows all too well how COVID impacted fundraisers.
"Last year's event was called off due to COVID, but this year went really, really well," said Rudzinski.
Rudzinski said that the event usually serves the help center as the largest fundraising opportunity of the year. Now, it can use the money to focus on what it does best.
"That money will go right back into the community through our assistance programs," Rudzinski said.
While missing out on last year hurt the center financially, it probably bolstered the turnout this year. Rudzinski said of the estimated 175 people attending, "Everyone had a great time and you could tell they were excited to be out with other people."
Rudzinski said the event could not have gone more smoothly and thanked the event chairperson Renee Hunt for pulling it off, as well as the hosts LP and Denise Moore for letting the party happen at their home. Local band, Sweetn3, provided entertainment for the evening.