- Category: Penny News
Contact: Mark Weller
A great 'Pennies for Lincoln' fund-raising event is unfolding this week as the city of Lincoln, Nebraska wraps up its campaign to raise $17,500 for a new sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, 'The Rail Joiner'.The statue is referred to as the 'Rail Joiner' because Lincoln is depicted joining together two fence rails.This act of joining rails symbolizes President Lincoln bringing a divided nation together.
Mr. Jim Hruska (pronounced 'ruska') of Lincoln has been collecting pennies for 30 years and has decided to donate them to the "Pennies for Lincoln" campaign. Indications are that Mr. Hruska's three-decade collection ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 pennies. Said Mr. Hruska, "I've been collecting pennies of all types since I went away to college in 1969. But when I heard of the public arts project and its connection to the Lincoln statue,donating my pennies to the community seemed a very fitting and worthy use of the coins." Mr. Hruska can be contacted at (402) 421-1617. Ms. Shelley Clayburn's sixth-graders at Rousseau Elementary School have volunteered to help sort through Mr. Hruska's penny collection.
Ms. Diane Gonzolas, of the Citizen Information Center for city of Lincoln (402/441-7831), has said that when the students are finished, the pennies will be taken to Lincoln Federal Savings Bank to be counted, which is anticipated to take place today at 3 p.m. (EST). Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely will be accompanying the students to the bank. The Information Center and Americans for Common Cents will have knowledge of the final penny count. The statute of Abraham Lincoln will be placed at the east entrance of the Justice and Law Enforcement Center prior to its May 5 dedication.
Mr. Hruska's donation is part of a larger penny fundraising effort, 'Pennies for Lincoln', which is being conducted by Margaret Berry of the Lincoln Arts Council (www.artscene.org/pennies) and community partners. The fund-raiser began on February 12, 2000 - President Lincoln's birthday. Aside from Mr. Hruska's pennies, 36 elementary schools, civic groups and clubs have contributed almost $9,000 in pennies for the statue of Abraham Lincoln.
The 'Pennies for Lincoln' initiative is another in a long list of fund-raising examples highlighting the utility of the penny. Each year, millions of dollars are raised for great causes through these simple, yet potent, donations.
Similarly, the students of Columbine Elementary School in Littleton Colorado have been saving their pennies to donate them to Project Hope, a fund dedicated to rebuilding the high school library where several students were slain last year.
Americans for Common Cents is a broad-based coalition of business and charitable organizations dedicated to keeping the penny. The coalition was formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the one-cent coin.