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Rowan County United Way 2018 fall campaign in full swing

SALISBURY — Three organizations shared stories of how Rowan County United Way has helped them as member agencies met for the first campaign report meeting Tuesday at Ben Mynatt Nissan dealership.

The “Every Day, the United Way” campaign aims to raise $1.6 million. John Struzick, chairman of the fall campaign, explained how the theme came about.

“When our volunteers met in committee back in the winter to decide on a theme for this year’s campaign,” Struzick said, “the words ‘every day’ kept coming in just about everything that we talked about. So we said, ‘Hey, wait a minute. That’s us: Every day, the United Way.’”

Ashley Creek said she has been helped by one United Way agency, Capstone Recovery Center. Creek spoke about a life surrounded by addiction.

“I grew up in addiction with parents of addiction,” Creek said. “I grew up in that type of lifestyle. It was really all I knew. I didn’t know that there were any other options out there.”

She said with the help of Capstone Recovery Center, she was able to beat addiction and begin to see the opportunities the community has for her.

“I’m so grateful because without Capstone and the people that have supported Capstone, I would still be in the streets,” Creek said. “I would still be crying out desperately for help. I just thank everybody who has contributed to Capstone, who’s going to contribute to Capstone. You saved my life. I’m here today. I’m about to turn 33 years old, and I never thought I would. I did not think that I would make it. I just appreciate that.”

Barbara Williams told the audience about how Rowan Vocational Opportunities helped her after being unemployed for health reasons.

“Being sponsored by the United Way gave me an opportunity to get back into the workforce, and I really appreciate what it has been done for me,” Williams said. “I worked my way from being a consumer up to a model worker, so I can go in at any department at Rowan Vocational Opportunities and help any of the clients that needs my assistance.”

Bill Burgin, Rowan County United Way president, thanked representatives of the agencies for their dedication to help the community.

“When I look out there, I see angels because you have dedicated a lot of your lives to the people who need help who have had setbacks, who have been in unfortunate circumstances, and that’s worthy of thanks to you,” Burgin said. “We really appreciate that.”

Struzick echoed Burgin’s sentiments, speaking about how many residents receive support from Rowan County United Way.

“Every year in Rowan County, about half of the people get touched in one way or another by the United Way agency,” Struzick said. “That’s 70,000 people that get touched by the United Way, and they do that because of you. If it weren’t for you, it wouldn’t happen.”

The 2018 campaign is the first for Executive Director Jenny Lee, who joined the agency in early September.

“We couldn’t making this work without your support and your steadfast ability to ensure that Rowan County is the best place for our folks to live a vibrant life,” Lee said. “Without you guys, we couldn’t make this happen. I’m excited to be a part of this journey with you all and work hand in hand as we serve as Rowan County champions, and I look forward to seeing what Bill said, what a full-on campaign looks like. This is amazing work that you do, and I’m proud that I play a small, little role in it.”

The Every Day, the United Way campaign has raised more than $180,000 as of the Wednesday meeting.

On Tuesday, WSAT 103.3 radio will take song requests for a donation to its campaign. People with requests can call 704-633-0621 or go to WSAT Radio on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

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