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United Way kicks off $2M fundraising campaign with patriotic flair

United Way campaign

Penny Greer-Link, chairwoman of the Rowan United Way campaign for 2015, speaks during Wednesday’s kick-off event. Wayne Hinshaw/For the Salisbury Post

Penny Greer-Link, chairwoman of the Rowan United Way campaign for 2015, speaks during Wednesday’s kick-off event. Wayne Hinshaw/For the Salisbury Post

Rowan United Way

With a patriotic theme inclusive of Uncle Sam, the Rowan County United Way kicked off its 2015-2016 campaign Friday to raise $1,999,999.99 (Campaign Chairman Penny Geer-Link is being counted at as the “Lucky Penny” so the goal will reach $2 million).

The goal represents a 4 percent increase over last year’s successful drive. Wednesday’s event was held at the Hurley Family YMCA.

Geer-Link said there are so many needs, one may sometimes wonder if they can even make a difference, but everyone and every penny does make a difference to each and every one of the 16 agencies.

This year’s campaign theme is, “Red, White & U, United We Can,” with each report meeting focusing on patriotism, tradition, spirit and all-American, respectively.

The 16 local agencies which depend on United Way funding include the American Red Cross, The Arc of Rowan, Boy Scouts, Communities in Schools, Families First, Family Crisis Council, Literacy Council, Meals on Wheels, Rowan Rescue Squad, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center, Salvation Army, Trinity Living Center, Vocational Opportunities, Youth Services Bureau, Smart Start Rowan and the Hurley Family YMCA.

For this year’s campaign a photo contest will challenge agencies to submit that special photo that represents the “Ultimate American Spirit,” which will be judged by the PR committee, with a People’s Choice awarded by the public voting through the United Way’s Facebook page.

Link said that what everyone does and gives matters. She said there are many needs and examples, such as a child at school being handed a backpack filled with food by a volunteer before she leaves on Friday, and she says, “thank you, if not for this I wouldn’t have anything to eat over the weekend.”

Once again during the campaign, people making their United Way contributions will have a chance to win a new car, donated by the participating dealerships of Ben Mynatt Nissan, Cloninger Ford-Toyota, the Gerry Wood Auto Group or Team Chevrolet.

Wednesday’s kickoff was all “Red, White & U,” from the performance by the Salisbury Rowan Choral Society, which sang a medley of patriotic songs, to last years’ campaign chairman Greg Dunn dressed as Uncle Sam and posing for selfies with attendees. The event concluded with a patriotic video which ended with a tribute to Rowan County’s own 2015 Little League Softball World Series champions.

Link introduced members of her 2015-16 Campaign Cabinet.

They include Michelle Patterson, Patterson Farm, public relations chairman; Marcie Puckett, Freightliner, training chairman; Jeanie Moore, retired, Presidents Campaign;  Shane Wolford, Bank of North Carolina, Chairmen’s Campaign; Janet Spriggs, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Industrial 1; John Struzick, Innospec, Industrial 2; Shelia Igo, Greystone Salon, Commercial 1; Nancy Wyrick, F&M Bank, Commercial 2; Heather Crawford, Wells Fargo, Commercial 3; Aaron Church, Rowan County, and Lane Bailey, City of Salisbury, Public Employees; Carol Ann Houpe and Henry Diggs, Rowan-Salisbury School System, Education; Martha Bostian, Community Business; Greg Dunn, retired, Special Gifts; Karen Alexander, KKA Architecture, Professionals; Denise Hallett, Vulcan, SWAT/CEO Cultivation; and Greg Alcorn, GCS, Leadership Giving. 

In addition to Patterson, the United Way’s public relations committee includes Jessica Gaskill Ijames, Greg Dunn, Mike Miller and Nancy Wyrick.

The first report meeting will be on Sept. 23 at noon at the Hurley Family YMCA.

For more information, visit the website, www.rowanunitedway.org, or follow the United Way on Facebook.

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