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Woodford County farmer lassos money for tornado victims

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 18:23:42-05

TAYLOR COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — In 2020, when everyone was struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, Woodford County cattle farmer, Greg Dotson, decided to do a raffle for charity.

Prizes then included a quarter of a beef, and the winner would then pick a charity that would receive the money generated by the raffle. Dotson collected $10,000 in 2020.

Fast forward to 2021. Dotson’s 2nd annual raffle was already underway when those devastating tornadoes hit western Kentucky, and portions of central Kentucky were impacted too. So he changed the rules and required the winner of this year’s raffle to direct the money to an entity that was severely hurt by the tornado damage. Dotson would help the winner find a suitable recipient.

Greg’s raffle was an even bigger hit than it was a year ago. He cracked the $70,000 mark, and on Wednesday, he handed over that money to the Cattleman’s Association of Taylor County.

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48 farms in Taylor County were ravaged by the storms. Dotson said he couldn’t imagine having to rebuild his farm if it were ever to be leveled by a storm, so he knew this is where he needed to bring this assistance.

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“It’s going to be a complete rebuild for most of them,” said John Marcum from the Cattleman’s Association.

Marcum said he was surprised at just how much Dotson’s raffle was able to raise.

“Really, a good blessing,” Marcum added.

Thousands of Kentuckians made that blessing possible by scooping up those raffle tickets and adding to the pot day by day. The pot continued to grow when the eventual winner declined one of the prizes in order to keep growing the pot.

“It didn’t even cross my mind that all of the prizes would go back and continue to figure out ways to raise more money,” said Karen Venis.

Venis runs Lexington’s Sayre Christian Village assisted living facility. It’s a non-profit, so she knows all about the need for community generosity in order to sustain the operation. The bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon she won as part of this raffle is something she plans to keep, but only because she can raffle that off and put the proceeds back into Sayre Christian Village.

“Just a way to keep it going,” Dotson said of Mrs. Venis’ generosity.

Dotson plans to keep it going with another raffle already on his mind for the 2022 holiday season.

“Who knows where it can go from here,” he wondered. “I don’t know if I’ll ever reach $70,000 again, but the joy you get out of doing this is what it’s all about,” he added.

Dotson said more than the money itself, it was the belief that so many had in his mission that made him a little emotional as he presented this check today.

“They trusted to give me this much money and to make sure it went to the right place.”