The March of Dimes celebrated its 75th Anniversary this year. And Ardmore area residents did their part to make sure it will be a memorable anniversary.
Nance Miller, Arbuckle Division Director, said the teams raised $223,413, surpassing the previous high of $217,211 raised in 2008. The March of Dimes campaign began Feb. 25 and ended Saturday with the walk at Central Park.
"I'm totally impressed with the commitment of the teams," Miller said. "This is the most giving, caring community and they love these babies.
"The March of Dimes Mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature births and infant mortality. The March of Babies is March of Dimes largest fundraising event. Ardmore and the southern Oklahoma community always show such wonderful support for helping all the babies are born healthy."
Giving back to the community was a powerful tool in recruiting participants in the campaign. And there were also personal experiences and relationships that also played a big part.
"One of my friends was a premature baby," Maverick McClendon, Marietta FCCLA, said. "I started doing some research and I joined my local FCCLA (Family Care and Community Leaders of America) chapter to help raise money and awareness. On a personal level, it has been very rewarding."
Super Team Michelin North America raised $52,168. In the team competition, Mercy Health Center raised $52,168. Luanne Johnson was named the top walker after raising $2,100 and Blake's Bunch took the top honors in family teams, raising $4,118.
Teams were outfitted in themed T-shirts and took team pictures prior to the walk Saturday morning.
"Every year, we come out and march," Don Wilson, Valero Vice President and General Manager, said. "We have several employees that have benefited from funding from March of Dimes and they are very passionate about it."
Wilson said he was a judge during Friday evening's talent show and he enjoyed the opportunity to meet people who have benefited from March of Dimes. And those opportunities extended to Saturday as he marched with other who gave to the cause.
"We have 15 to 20 employees here," Wilson said. "It's an opportunity to see folks in the community and march for the cause."