THAYER -- On Jan. 28 Thayer McDonald's will join 62 McDonald's Restaurants and 25 Great Southern Banks in the Ozarks as they begin their Share a Heart Campaign.
Thayer Mayor Allen Deckard joined 40 other mayors across the region last week as he signed a proclamation declaring Feb. 6-12 as Ronald McDonald House Week in Thayer. This is the 12th year for the campaign.
For 18 days, residents in southern Missouri will be asked to support this effort as they visit their local McDonalds by purchasing a red heart for $1. With every dollar donated, the contributor will autograph a heart that will be placed at the Thayer McDonald's through Valentines Day.
In addition to the heart campaign, everyone who purchases a heart will receive an official entry form for the May 7 drawing for a Polar Kraft XTI75 bass boat and trailer.
All proceeds made from the sale of the hearts will go toward the operation of the nearest Ronald McDonald House. For Thayer, Mammoth Spring and Oregon County residents the closest house is located in Springfield and is named the Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks.
The house has served over 5,700 families. It has served as a 'home away from home" for families of seriously ill and injured children who must travel from rural areas for medial care.
The mission of the house is to provide lodging, hope and comfort as well as emotional support during a family's time of need. This year the Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks celebrates its 17th year.
The Jake and Lisa Olson family of West Plains learned last April just how valuable the Ronald McDonald House of the Ozarks is.
"The house is not just for seriously ill children and their families. We discovered this when our son, Jacob, needed to have his tonsils out. We needed to be at the hospital at 6 that morning, and since we live 110 miles from the hospital a nurse asked if we had made arrangements to spend the night prior to the surgery," Mrs. Olson said. She said this is when the nurse offered the Ronald McDonald House to her family and explained its services.
"As any 5-year-old would be, Jacob was nervous and frightened about the procedure, so the just-like-home feeling helped put him at ease, not to mention the toys and games. They even provided him a teddy bear for comfort for his surgery. Our family now knows the Ronald McDonald House is there for all children and their families, and we thank them," Mrs. Olson said.
In the past 17 years 82 Oregon County families have been served by the Springfield Ronald McDonald House. In 2004 alone, 10 Oregon County families made use of the service of the house. Thirty-six Fulton County, Ark., families have used the house in the past 17 years, four families last year.