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United Way exceeds fall campaign goal by nearly $50,000

SALISBURY — With the help of many individuals, businesses and organizations, the United Way of Rowan County raised $1,524,000 during its 2017 fall campaign.

The campaign goal was $1,478,000.

“I am so happy,” said Jackie Harris, the United Way’s marketing director. “It is not normal to exceed your goal every year. But for this year, it was really needed. It’s needed for our agencies; it’s needed for the community. And we will put it to good use.”

Results of the campaign were announced Wednesday.

The 16 agencies that will benefit from this year’s campaign are Rowan County Literacy Council; The Arc/Rowan; Rowan Vocational Opportunities; Boy Scouts of Central N.C. Council; Communities in Schools of Rowan County; Rowan County YMCA; Rowan County Youth Services Bureau; American Red Cross; Rowan County Rescue Squad; Salvation Army; Trinity Living Center; Rufty-Holmes Senior Center; Meals on Wheels; Families First Inc.; Family Crisis Council; and Smart Start Rowan.

“We’re just happy that the community came together with the help of Cheerwine and all of the other businesses,” said Rowan County Manager Aaron Church, the campaign co-chairman.

Cheerwine was one of several businesses to make an appearance at the campaign’s final meeting at noon Wednesday at the J.F. Hurley YMCA.

At the beginning of the nearly two-month-long campaign, Cheerwine CEO Cliff Ritchie announced a matching campaign: for every dollar the campaign earned, he said, Cheerwine would match it, up to $100,000.

At Wednesday’s finale, he revealed that the campaign had earned the entire $100,000 possible.

When Ritchie announced the news, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

Ritchie also gave away two certificates for a year’s worth of Cheerwine.

Patty Messick and Matt Beam — both of Trinity Oaks — had the winning tickets for those prizes.

Another prize was also given — a free car.

Twelve people, who had their names drawn at the other three report meetings during the campaign, sat at the front of the YMCA gymnasium in folding chairs while Church and City Manager Lane Bailey, the campaign co-chairman, drew names from a giant box.

As Bailey read out each of the names, the person whose was called would be given a consolation prize and asked to sit down.

The last name left was Crystal Drew, a guidance office employee at Carson High School. She won a car from Cloninger.

The other participating dealerships were Ben Mynatt, Gerry Wood and Team Chevrolet.

Drew said she had actually just purchased a car last week.

“I’m very excited. I’m shocked, but very excited,” Drew said. “I never thought that this would happen, so I never even thought about this.”

She said that she might save the car she receives for her 12-year-old daughter.

Other organizations that announced their contributions Wednedsay included Fisher-Greene Insurance and Sacred Heart Catholic School.

Fisher-Greene Insurance donated $2,500, represented by a giant cardboard check.

Sacred Heart Catholic School donated $2,238.50 over the two-month period — the most that the school has ever donated to a United Way campaign.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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