2019 PaDucky Derby

The winners, the sponsors, and the pond full of toys

Seven thousand rubber ducks splashed into the Noble Park pond on Saturday to vie for the grand prize in the fifth annual Merryman House PaDucky Derby. It was a tight race, but the duck sponsored by Brent Housman snagged the top spot and $2,500 award.

Ducks adopted by Paducah Bank employees and Jim Reese came in second and third and earned $1,000 and $500 prizes.

“The PaDucky Derby continues to be such a fun, successful event,” Mary Foley, our executive director, said. “It takes so many people to get us all across the finish line! I’d like to express our deepest thanks to American Quilters Society, and all of the sponsors, duck adopters, businesses and community members for their continued support of the Merryman House. … You all are simply the greatest!”

The Real Winners

But, of course, Merryman House clients benefitted the most from the Derby’s success. The fundraiser, hosted in partnership with GAME Fundraising, collected at least $25,000 for our crisis center’s $135,000 annual operating budget. Each duck adopted by Derby hopefuls now will help pay our staff, keep our lights on, feed our clients, and generally provide a loving, compassionate atmosphere in which trauma survivors and their families can heal.

A few clients also spoke amid the hubbub and fanfare and raised awareness about the need for Merryman House services. They told their heartbreaking stories of abuse and then described how they found hope and healing through our center.

“[These clients] told us how much the services they have received have saved, built or changed their lives,” Mary explained. “It is easy to focus on the fun of the event and lose sight of the purpose behind the event.”

But those testimonies vividly demonstrated the impact every Derby participant would have on trauma survivors—simply by adopting a few ducks. They brought meaning to the PaDucky Derby.

The Fun and Games

The event balanced those beautiful, honest moments with whimsical elements; It was a rubber duck race, after all.

Families came from all over the area to watch a crane dump thousands of rubber ducks—each wearing the GAME’s signature sunglasses—into the Noble Park pond. Children loved to see the water fill up with little, yellow toys. We also provided plenty of food and music to make the afternoon extra special.

The Heroes

“What better organization could we partner with than one supporting and helping mostly other women?

At the end of the race, the staff at Merryman House felt proud of the event we had worked so hard to host. We also felt grateful to each person who adopted a duck and to the sponsors who helped make the Derby possible—especially the American Quilter’s Society.

AQS President Meredith Schroeder served as an honorary chair for our recent capital campaign, and she has been an ardent champion for trauma survivors.

“AQS is made up of 95% women,” she told us. “What better organization could we partner with than one supporting and helping mostly other women? And, we can do this through the PaDucky Derby.”

The Next Step

The PaDucky Derby will be back next year to load the Noble Park pond with bath toys once again. In the meantime, anyone who would like to support Merryman House and its clients can give online. Thank you to our generous supporters for helping to Save, Build, and Change Lives.