LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville man with a big heart is known for his hearts -- the ones that he creates by hand -- and he's raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.
In the basement of his Highlands home, Dr. Ron Lehocky is as busy as an elf before Christmas.
Every day his fingers are busy, creating his polymer clay heart pins -
He made his first heart pin nine years ago to help a place close to his heart: the Kids Center.
"So I made 100 of them," he said. "Sold within a week or two."
All of the money from each $10 pin sold goes to the Kids Center, where children get physical, occupational and speech therapies, even if their families can't afford it.
Dr. Lehocky is on the board.
"They've taught me what the meaning of life is," he said. "When you work with special needs kids you change your priorities a lot."
He's now made quite a few more than 100. "28,430. And now 431."
"I can't believe I've done 28,000 of anything."
"He's an artist," said Emily McKay of Diaper Fairy Cottage, a cloth diaper deliver service. The Diaper Fairy Cottage is just one of the stores that sells the pins with all of the proceeds going to the Kids Center. Dr. Lehocky used to be Emily's pediatrician when she was a child.
"He gives so much back to the community," she said
Dr. Lehocky says he doesn't take any money from the pins sold because he doesn't like the bookkeeping. Plus, he doesn't have to buy much of his own clay anymore. "People are pretty much aware of the heart project now I will get boxes of people's old stuff to turn into other items."
He's not setting a goal any longer. "It's changed my life. So I have to give back to them."
He says he'll keeping making them as long as people keep buying them
"These kids and these families have really made my life worthwhile."
If you'd like to purchase one, visit the Kids Center website and click on The Heart Pin Project.