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Hospital executive raises funds for United Way

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Adam Stanfield used the Japanese martial art of karate, against an inanimate opponent, to raise money for charity.

Stanfield, executive director of the Henry Medical Center (HMC) Foundation, and a first-degree black belt holder, held a "Board Break-a-Thon" Friday, and broke 1,000, 1-by-12-inch, wooden boards, within a 16-minute time span.

He gave the fund-raising demonstration on the cafeteria patio at Henry Medical Center.

The foundation director collected pledges ranging from one cent per board, to 25 cents per board, and raised more than $2,000 for the United Way. The effort was instrumental in helping the United Way raise a total of $27,500 this year, said Barbara Rainone, the hospital's laboratory director, and the United Way's 2010 chairperson for HMC.

"I think it worked out to one [board-break] every second, ...we were doing multiple breaks," said Stanfield. "It was a unique way to raise money for a good cause. It was important for us to make our goal at Henry Medical Center."

The United Way's 2010 fund-raising campaign ran from Oct. 12, through Nov. 12.

Rainone said the campaign was extended, and the United Way's fund-raising committee was brainstorming to think of new ideas to raise more money. Stanfield's fund-raiser was scheduled in December, to give the organization time to "get the word out" about what he was planning to do, said Rainone.

She said the "Board Break-a-Thon" helped the United Way collect enough money to meet its objectives.

"We were about $1,000 short," she said. "He [Stanfield] raised double that. We far exceeded what we hoped to collect."

Stanfield said the idea for this year's fund-raiser came from a previous karate fund-raiser, when he used the martial art during the United Way's 2006 campaign.

Stanfield broke the boards, using kicks and punches. With his feet, using side kicks, round kicks, and front kicks, he began by breaking two boards at once, working his way up to five at once. With his hands, using a hammer-fist technique, and with "ridge hand strikes," Stanfield broke two and three boards at once.

He also used his elbows and foreams to break some boards.

"We treated it as an educational thing," continued Stanfield. "When we talk about a board Break-a-Thon as a fund-raiser, people say, 'what is that?'"

He explained each different type of kick and punch to observers, as he demonstrated how it is used to break boards.

Near the end of the demonstration, Stanfield's karate instructor, Lisa Piper, a fifth-degree black belt holder, set up a "board-breaking machine," similar to a vice grip. Stanfield used the device to break five boards at once with his foot.

"It was fun to watch Adam," said Rainone. "It was quite an event, he did a great job. He stepped forward and said, 'I want to help.' I think it was admirable of him to volunteer to do this."

Rainone said the economy makes it challenging to collect charitable donations. "It is kind of tough," she said. "You see a smaller number of people giving fairly large amounts. I was pleased with [this year's] campaign."

"Every little bit helps," said Stanfield.