Little advocates hope for Big telethon
By RANDY GONZALES
What costume will Gary Shorman wear this year?
"Everyone's asking me," said Nancy Jeter, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County.
Shorman, president and CEO of Eagle Communications, is the master of ceremonies for Sunday's 10th annual BBBS Christmas telethon. Ever since the telethon's third year, if the monetary goal is reached, then Shorman will don a Christmas-themed costume at the end of the show.
Last year, he was dressed as a gingerbread man. In other years, he's been everything from Santa's elf to the Little Drummer Boy to a snowflake princess.
The telethon raised $65,000 last year, and the goal this year is $70,000. That's because BBBS, which has approximately 145 kids matched and another 50 on a waiting list, wants to have 200 Big Brothers and Sisters matched with "littles" in 2014.
"If we raise that (number of matches), we're going to have to find the money to do that," Jeter said.
The local BBBS chapter, which formed in 2000, had its first telethon in 2004 at The Mall. Jana Jordan, who was on the board, had the idea. The goal that year was $25,000.
After the first year, Stan Dreiling with James Motor Co., 108 E. 13th, agreed to host the telethon.
"He cleaned out all his showrooms and moved all the cars out," Jeter said. "We set up sets and put together a telethon, and it's evolved from there."
The telethon, which will be televised on Eagle channels 14 and 614, and can be heard on the radio on KHAZ 99.5 FM, is from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Pledges can be called in at that time, or a donation can be made at christmas4kids.net.
Entertainment for the telethon includes the Hays High School chamber singers, the Thomas More Prep-Marian High School singers, and also a magic act involving a Big with a Little.
Civic groups also will assist children in building their own bicycles.
Jeter said it was hard to believe this is the 10th telethon.
"Ten years of hijinks and fun," she said.