"Army, WRTA Part Ways for Christmas Drive
Allegations of $3,000 Demand Split Groups"
This front page headline in the Sunday Altoona Mirror and the article written by Bill Kibler that followed is intended to raise eyebrows.
Newspaper reporter Bill Kibler called me Friday afternoon. He said that he was following up on a phone call that he received from Altoona Salvation Army board member Frank Thompson. Kibler wanted to ask me some questions about allegations made by Thompson.
Kibler has never hesitated to call me in the past at my office or at my home about different topics. I have not hesitated to answer his questions. Although I believe that the discussion I had with Frank Thompson was private, apparently Thompson did not since he complained to a local newspaper.
Some history: WRTA’s Ken Maguda and Dave Weaver came up with the idea for the Drive by Giving effort and to raise money to buy toys for children of local families in need. That was before I was involved at the station. For thirteen years we have undertaken Drive by Giving and all the success is a result of the generosity of people in Central PA who are always willing to help.
It is my opinion that Kibler’s article and some of Mr. Thompson’s comments need clarified. To that end I have sent an email to Kibler inviting him to join me on air, Monday, 9 a.m. for Two Way Radio. I anticipate Kibler will accept my invitation to answer some questions just as I have always responded when he had questions. And since Thompson feels that this issue needs to be discussed publicly we are also inviting him to join us tomorrow.
I harbor no ill feelings for either Kibler or Thompson. Kibler does a lot of good work at the newspaper and Thompson and his family have given greatly of their time and effort working for the local Salvation Army. The reason to have these two on air is that I believe Kibler’s article and some of Mr. Thompson’s comments may put a cloud over what all the effort was about: Helping local families in need. So let the facts be out.
Finally, I sincerely wish to acknowledge and thank the Salvation Army staff and volunteers for thirteen great years of working with us on Drive By Giving. A lot of children enjoyed a brighter Christmas because of their yeoman efforts. I was told in a letter from the Salvation Army the middle of September that they are going to embark on an effort with another media outlet to promote Holiday giving. That's good news and we wish them success.
WRTA and the Radio Campus are going to continue our tradition of Drive By Giving. This year we are partnering with another local charitable organization and moving the emphasis away from toys to more of the immediate needs that local families are experiencing.
The economic situation that we are in today has resulted in more families lacking the basic necessities. We want to focus on that. And yes, once again our pledge is that every item and every dollar collected will go to assist local families. Nothing held back for overhead costs.
Now with two fund raising efforts this year more Central Pa families in need can be helped. That’s tremendous.Dave@wrta.com