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Editorial: United Way in action

Kudos to the YMCA of Rowan County and the United Way for jumping in to help local families deal with the widespread power outages that started last Thursday and extended through the weekend. They both demonstrated how vital the United Way is to Rowan County.

After Tropical Storm Michael blew through, about a quarter of Rowan was left without electricity. The county’s three Y facilities opened their doors to members and non-members alike to shower, recharge devices, and fill water jugs. This was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but rather the result of careful planning.

After a 2002 ice storm left large parts of Rowan in the freezing-cold dark, the local Emergency Services Department realized Rowan needed a facility that could provide shelter, water and heat or air conditioning in such emergencies, according to Jamie Morgan, YMCA CEO.

The Hurley Y had two generators they were able to put into action last week thanks to that planning— through a partnership with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, funding from the Phillip Morris Employee Community Fund and fuel provided by Rowan County United Way’s Community Chest Fund. Thus the Hurley Y became capable of serving as a Red Cross emergency shelter.

But that’s not all.

The Saleeby-Fisher YMCA in the east and the J. Fred Corriher YMCA in the south have also been wired for generators. Morgan says that if the county experiences a widespread extended outage, the Red Cross can bring in units to help them power up and serve as Red Cross emergency shelters too.

The United Way Community Chest Fund plays a pivotal part in this plan. Through the fund, money was donated to buy diesel fuel for the generators’ 2,000-gallon tank at the Hurley Y.

The YMCA is a United Way partner agency, and the Community Chest Fund is just one example of the leadership role the United Way takes when need arises. That constancy is something the community should keep in mind, especially right now, according to Morgan.

“Rowan County United Way kicked off its campaign last month and needs community donations so they can continue to be there for the partner agencies that serve Rowan County,” Morgan says. “Please do not hesitate to give when asked by one of their many dedicated volunteers.”

Amen to that.

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