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Nearing end, United Way campaign well short of goal

The United Way fundraising campaign is not looking too hot.

The Rowan County United Way held its fourth and last report meeting at Cloninger Ford of Salisbury on Wednesday.

With only about a week of fundraising left in the campaign, only 77.3 percent of the $1,999,999.99 goal has been reached.

“I’ll be quite honest. We should be about 90 percent of goal at this point,” Penny Greer-Link, the general campaign chairperson, said to the crowd.

“We do need each and every one of you to do your part,” she said. “We can’t rely on just my cabinet members and we can’t rely on just our board members to be out there working hard.”

Greer-Link said the agencies are working hard to raise funds, and there are still campaigns that have yet to be completed.

“You don’t know the people that are using these services. You work beside of people, you live in a neighborhood with people, you have people you go to church with that you have no idea are using these services,” Greer-Link said. Anyone, she added, is one life event away from needing the services the United Way provides.

Paul Fisher, chairman emeritus, also spoke about the need for the United Way’s services in the community.

“I’m a little bit saddened that we are so far away from our goal,” he said.

Fisher said when the United Way wins as a team, the county wins as a whole.

“When (the United Way) has a victory, it’s like a barometer. I mean, it lifts everybody’s spirits,” Fisher said. “It tells all of us that we care, that we’re concerned, we’re going to take care of our own, we’re going to solve our problems, we’re going to help the poor, we’re going to help the sick.”

The United Way works to improve the education, income and health of local community members. The primary focuses of the Rowan chapter include education and personal empowerment, medical and dental care accessibility and job creation and retention, according to the Rowan United Way website.

Four divisions have reached 100 percent of their goal or above. The Public Employees Division raised the greatest percentage of their goal, about $146,688 for 114.6 percent of their goal. Education raised $162,842 for 102.4 percent of their goal. Industrial 2 had a total of about $65,722 for 101.1 percent of their goal. Commercial 2 raised a total of about $103,849 for 100.1 percent of their goal.

To continue with the “Red, White and U” American spirit theme, some of the members of the Rowan Little League world champion softball team, along with coach Steve Yang, attended the event.

Yang talked about how much the win meant to the community and the many thank yous he and the team members have received.

“We never thought that this would impact our community in such a positive way,” Yang said.

The Sacred Heart Catholic School Varsity Cheerleaders also pumped up the crowd with a few cheers.

Names were drawn for the chance to win a free car. Judy Summitt from Rowan County government, Tammy Hill from Park Sterling Bank and Chris Messick from Innospec will all advance to the next stage of the drawing.

Steve Fisher, president of the board of directors, said he is encouraged by the campaigns that have come in.

“We need to get the rest of those campaigns in and make sure everyone that is finishing their campaign finishes strong,” he said.

The United Way campaign finale will be Nov. 13 at the YMCA.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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