(FAIRBURY, IL) — Complications with reading and writing make Oscar Gorbet a simple conversationalist. However, his actions speak much louder than words.
Since 2012, Oscar has raised just over $90,000 in the name of Oscar’s Kids, his group that collects donations to benefit children with muscular dystrophy. The money sponsors a summer camp hosted by the Muscular Dystrophy Association where campers partake in horseback riding, rock climbing, and many more activities.
Oscar also collects the money primarily in one place: the Fairbury American Legion Speedway.
Inspired by the well-known MDA Labor Day Telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis, the 68-year old put action into his own hands and began collecting money for the organization. Then, he approached Fairbury Speedway owner Matt Curl who was immediately on board with Oscar’s mission.
“I was sold after the first time he told me about the camp and the kids,” said Curl, who has worked closely with Oscar since 2012. “He’s here every week. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold or windy or rainy. He’ll be here and you can guarantee it.”
Throughout the collection process, Oscar continuously updates the MDA of Central Illinois of his progress, which excited everyone in the office according to Katelyn Emmerling, MDA of Central Illinois’ Development Coordinator.
“He’s always excited to tell me the number and it’s always higher and it’s such a celebration whenever he calls,” said Emmerling. “He does it all by himself so it’s just incredible what he’s contributed to MDA.”
Emmerling added that Oscar will be sending 12 kids to camp thanks to his contributions.
“(The campers) are just so ecstatic to know that this person helped us to get to this point because, without his help, they wouldn’t be there.”
Once he collects the donations, Oscar makes his way to the First Financial Bank where the bank helps count his total amount. Watching the numbers increase year after year astounds the bank’s staff.
“The first year he started collecting, he raised $2500 which was enough to sponsor a cabin and now, he’s sponsoring children,” said First Financial Bank of Pontiac VP Dustin Smith. “His return is just happiness.”
If you’d like to contribute to Oscar’s Kids, you can donate to a specific savings account at First Financial Bank dedicated to Oscar’s Kids or purchase a motivational calendar at the bank’s front desk.