Missouri Loggers Help Children

Missouri lumberjacks, loggers and saw mills work together to help raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network for University of Missouri Children’s Hospital. This year, a business went above and beyond by donating their winnings from a 50/50 raffle to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Missouri Forest Products Association Executive Director Brian Brookshire said this was the first year they had held a 50/50 raffle to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

“We sold tickets for the 50/50 raffle at $1,000 apiece and we sold 30 of those,” said Brookshire. “Like a typical 50/50 raffle, 50 percent of the ticket sales goes to the charity and the other 50 percent goes to the winner.”

Brookshire explained $15,000 would have went to the Children’s Miracle Network and $15,000 would have went to Chris Harbison who owns Harbison Saw Mill in Potosi and Jonesburg Saw Mill in Jonesburg.

“He donated his winnings, which was $15,000 and it was an incredible thing on his part,” stressed Brookshire. “He donated his part of that raffle back to our charity, so we ended up raising $30,000 for that particular event for Children’s Miracle Network.”

Brookshire said they certainly didn’t expect him to do that and as soon as Harbison’s name was drawn, he immediately said his intentions were to give it back to the kids.

Sheila Marler, Harbison’s sister, who oversees Harbison Saw Mill in Potosi, said when her brother got the call that he had won the raffle, he told them he wanted the money to go straight back to the fundraising for the kids.

“They invited him up to do the check presentation pictures earlier this month and they went to the hospital,” said Marler. “They got to take a tour of the hospital and showed him some of the equipment they bought with the money that was donated to them.”

Marler said they have some really advanced equipment to help babies and kids and they were able to see it while getting a tour.

“They have all worked hard promoting this to the other loggers because some of the loggers in other sawmills maybe would not be part of this if they hadn’t spread the word,” said Marler. “Also by seeing this story, they may get involved in this next year and it will be even bigger.”

Marler said there are always new sawmills that have not been in business long and they get the loggers to join the Missouri Forestry Products Association. When they join it will give them more guys who constantly help with this.

“Instead of keeping his prize, Chris donated the money back to CMN, which increased the donation we will receive to $50,000,” said Kristen Fritschie, Children’s Miracle Network coordinator at MU Children’s Hospital. “I can not put into words how appreciative we are of his extraordinary act of kindness.”

“Both logging professionals and folks who own saw mills and wood manufacturing facilities in Missouri participate in a number of different fundraising type activities throughout the year to raise money for our charity,” explained Brookshire.

He added the primary way they raise money is loggers for example, purchase timber from private land owners and they typically sell those logs to a saw mill.

“Occasionally what they will do is they will take an entire load of logs to a saw mill and the saw mill will purchase those logs from the logger, but the mill will write a check to the Log A Load For Kids charity,” said Brookshire. “They essentially donate the value of that load of logs to the charity.”

Brookshire said throughout the year they also have golf tournaments, skeet shoots, various types of raffles and things like that where they raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network.

“We have actually, throughout the year, given the Children’s Miracle Network approximately $70,000 during a 15-month time period,” said Brookshire. “Since the Missouri Forest Products Association has been involved in this effort, we have given the MU Children’s Hospital over $100,000.”

Brookshire said he continues to be amazed by the charitable giving the forest products industry in Missouri has been able to accomplish.

“My members are basically the salt of the earth kind of folks who get up and go to work every day, run their business and work hard,” said Brookshire. “The idea they are interested in donating to this particular charity for these kids to me is a very humbling experience. It’s fantastic to be part of it.”

He added Tag Truck Center in Farmington is a significant player in the industry and Bill Merical, who runs the operation and his wife Sarah are very involved with the charitable giving.

“As is Botkin Lumber Company in Farmington,” added Brookshire. “There are a number folk’s right there who are all involved in raising money for that charity. It’s something we are very committed to do and we are going to continue to do it, we are certainly not done raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network.”

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