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Town of Woodruff Celebrates 60th Million Penny Parade Submitted: 05/25/2013
Story By Shardaa Gray


Photos By Shardaa Gray

WOODRUFF - A million pennies might not go a long way today, but in the 1950's it helped build a hospital in Woodruff.

Saturday was about celebrating a woman with a big idea.

"It's a special celebration this year and so we just wanna help Woodruff celebrate." said Hazelhurst resident, Faye Tenhaken.

"It was awesome. I loved it. All the kids, I had a ton of my nieces and nephews with me and they loved it too." Arbor Vitae resident, Amber Kazlausky said.

This was the 60th anniversary of the Million Penny Parade.

But this day is more than that.

It all started when the town needed a hospital.

"The people of Woodruff got together and they were going to build one. It got about half finished and they ran out of money. That was when my dad and his geometry class was discussing quantity and things," said Otto Burich's daughter, Katherine Burich Patten.

"And they decided the kids wanted to see what a million of something looked like. And they decided they were going to collect a million pennies."

Those pennies were donated Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb who wanted to build the hospital.

This year the Abor Vitae-Woodruff School kept the spirit alive by raising more than one million pennies.

"It's very meaningful, to relive this and I wish more of the classmates could have been here," 1953 Penny Queen, Donna Behn Bassett said.

"It's so wonderful to hear that they collected a million pennies again."

So the next time you're in Woodruff and you see the world's largest Penny, remember it all started with one woman wanting to build a hospital and children eager to help, one penny at a time.

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