Johnson Controls teamed up with businesses in the Milwaukee area to help the 24th Annual Make-A-Wish® Walk & Run for Wishes raise more than $210,000. Proceeds from the record-setting event will grant 40 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Held Aug. 27 in Milwaukee’s Henry W. Maier Festival Park, the Walk & Run for Wishes included a 5K walk and run, one-mile walk, wheelchair race and short kid’s race. Johnson Controls and its Luxaire® brand of heating and air-conditioning equipment were co-presenting sponsors of the event, along with Badger Mutual Insurance Company.
The Johnson Controls-Luxaire team, which consisted of 150 participants, had a huge role in the event’s success, raising more than $20,000 – enough to grant three wishes. No other organization had more participants or raised as much money.
“I’m awestruck by what the Johnson Controls-Luxaire team did to support the Walk & Run for Wishes,” said Mary Mocarski, Luxaire brand manager. “It’s amazing what can happen when a large group commits to such a worthy cause.”
“Johnson Controls-Luxaire was a wonderful addition as a co-presenting sponsor this year, and they certainly made a big difference,” said Forrest Doolen, PR manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. “We surpassed our initial fundraising goal of $200,000, and had more than 2,500 people participate -- a record for us.”
This year, Luxaire is celebrating “A Decade of Wishes Come True” with the foundation. Since 2001, Luxaire has sponsored the Make-A-Wish Foundation®, and through its network of heating and air-conditioning dealers and distributors, has donated more than $2 million, which is enough to grant nearly 300 wishes.
“When you purchase a Luxaire heating and air-conditioning system, you’re helping your family live more comfortably year-round,” Rod Rushing, vice president and general manager of unitary products at Johnson Controls, told the crowd at the Walk & Run for Wishes. “Just as importantly, you’re helping support one of the world’s leading children’s charities. Johnson Controls believes in giving back to the community, and we’re committed to doing business with a purpose and making a difference in the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.”
Four wish kids helped lead this year’s Walk & Run for Wishes. They included 13-year-old Joe, who wished to visit LEGOLAND in California; 8-year-old Damita, who wished for a laptop computer; 13-year-old Elliot, who wished to have a bedroom makeover; and 3-year-old Elise, who wished to visit her favorite theme park.
Milwaukee Stove & Furnace Supply Company, a Luxaire distributor in the Milwaukee area, has been an active Make-A-Wish participant, fulfilling the wishes of more than 10 local Wisconsin children and sponsoring events with the Milwaukee Brewers to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. According to Bill Geldon, Luxaire product manager at Milwaukee Stove, the company’s commitment to the Make-A-Wish program goes beyond the annual contribution that Luxaire makes to the wish-granting organization.
“Although the national campaign is great, and that’s where it all starts, I think the local connection Milwaukee Stove has established for our dealers is important,” said Geldon. “When we can grant a wish to a local child, it helps our dealers and their customers feel more like they’re actually making a difference. The message is suddenly much more powerful when they realize they are able to grant a wish and do something special for a child who lives in their community.”
Mocarski agreed, adding, “Luxaire dealers and distributors are honored to participate in these very special activities that benefit local Make-A-Wish chapters and families in the communities where we live and work. Contributing to the success of this event helps strengthen the special bond that Luxaire and the Make-A-Wish Foundation share.”