Grateful zoo contest winner

The window of the Workingman’s Store at 113 Putnam St. is piled high with bears, dinosaurs, ducks and other animals galore.

Since Nov. 25, WMOA Radio’s 23rd annual Christmas Zoo has been collecting stuffed animals of all kinds for area children in need and leading up to a cash giveaway for one lucky donor, awarded Monday.

Loraine Kehl, of Marietta, was the winner of the $500 prize for donating to the Christmas Zoo.

Kehl said she’d heard about the prize right before going to the Workingman’s Store to drop off a two-foot-long pink bunny.

“Praise God,” she said. “I’m so thankful and I’m thankful the zoo’s here every year for the kids.”

The $500 prize is going to multiple ventures.

“I’m going to donate part of it to Sandhill United Methodist Church in Reno,” Kehl said, adding, “Tonight I’m going to take my daughter, twin grandsons, granddaughter and her new husband and my great granddaughter out to dinner.”

When asked if Christmas shopping was on the agenda, Kehl said, “Well I won’t say I won’t. We’re going to stop at some stores so it’s possible.”

Kehl is a repeat donor for the Christmas Zoo.

“I watch the window every year,” she said. “I (donate) every year; I love it.”

WMOA disc jockey and zoo keeper Kyle Wenzel said the $500 giveaway for those donating is new this year. Anyone who made a donation was eligible.

The prize was sponsored by Artex Oil and Dr. Cline and the staff at Surgical Associates.

“I’m glad somebody won that’s a repeat donor,” said WMOA morning show host and zoo keeper Shawn Jones.

Though no definite number had been calculated at the time the winner was announced, Wenzel said there were close to 2,000 stuffed animals collected this year.

“We know for a fact we’re over 1,700,” Jones said.

Many of the donations for the Christmas Zoo were in the form of cash.

“Our friends of the Harmar Tavern donated 660 toys, our largest donation by far,” Wenzel said.

“Today’s moving day,” he added, referring to packing up the animals and sending them onto their next destination.

The Washington-Morgan Community Action Headstart, Secret Santa, EVE, the American Legion and Washington State Community College’s Evergreen Childcare Center are a few of the places receiving the Christmas Zoo donations.