United Way’s determination

  • Posted: Sunday, December 2, 2012 1:25 a.m.

Payback can be a good thing. Just ask some United Way donors.

At the close of the Rowan United Way’s fall campaign last week, people who participated in the drawing for a car talked about why they gave to United Way.

“I’ve been through poverty and had to use their services. I thank them so much,” said Dorothy Williams.

Jeremy Lomax also once received help from one of the United Way’s 16 member agencies and said giving was his way of“paying it back.”

Rowan County needs to “pay it back” to the volunteers and donors who helped this year’s campaign reach its $1.78 million goal. Special kudos go to the anonymous donor or donors who wrote a virtual blank check in the 11th hour to get to the goal. But every one of the 1.78 million pledged dollars came from someone who put the good of the community before their own wants and needs. That’s priceless. The “gifts” that motivate donors are the ones they can give, not get, and that says a lot about this community.

Campaign Chair Denise Hallett and all the other volunteers who worked on the campaign can breathe easy, finally, after extending the campaign to the end of the month. The businesses that conduct United Way campaigns among their employees can’t always wind them up by early November. Hallett and company stuck with it, and their patience and determination paid off.

That is, they paid off for the agencies and the many people who will turn to them next year — such as:

n Adults who overcome the stigma of not being able to read with the help of Rowan Literacy Council tutors.

n Disabled people who find they are actually quite able to be productive and socialize in the supportive atmosphere of Rowan Vocational Opportunities.

n Young men who complete the rigorous requirements to be Eagle Scouts and young women who earn Girl Scouting’s Gold Award.

n Drivers and passengers freed from the twisted wreckage of cars by the Rowan Rescue Squad after violent accidents.

n Dazed families who will find the Red Cross suddenly by their side at their burned-out homes, offering help.

There are thousands more people touched in some way by one of the agencies. Other agencies are The Arc/Rowan, Communities in Schools, Rowan County YMCA, The Salvation Army, Trinity Living Center, Meals on Wheels, Adolescent & Family Enrichment Council, Family Crisis Council and Rowan County Youth Services Bureau.

These nonprofits all conduct their own fundraisers, but by joining together for the United Way campaign, they help people in the community cover a lot of ground with one pledge. It’s a strong system that has worked well in Rowan County for years.

But it wouldn’t work at all if no one organized and ran the campaigns, or if no one gave. Once again, Rowan residents gave generously of their time and money. They’re paying it back — and forward.

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