Letter: Hope marches on through Salvation Army because of United Way

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2021

I was so pleased to see Jackie Harris’s My Turn the other day (“Give to United Way to support mental health”). She was the first one to welcome me to the Rowan County community when I was posted as the commanding officer at the Salvation Army.

Her pint-sized frame belied the passion packed in her frame. As the longtime guru at the United Way, she introduced me to the community and communicated the needs found here and asked immediately how I could help meet the needs of my new neighbors. Her passion was evident!

Since then, Jackie has retired from the United Way, but that same spirit is found in all those who take up the United Way’s mantle. Very soon, Jenny Lee came on as executive director and I have enjoyed working with her the last three years. Little did we know when we met, that we would work together through some of the most trying years in our county’s history.

So many families lost their livelihoods to the coronavirus as workplaces had to shutter their doors. The challenges snowballed quickly as meager savings were expended and heart wrenching choices became the norm, “should we pay the rent, or keep the lights on?”

“How long can I go without the water turned on so we can have food?” There was a tsunami of need that surely would wash away many of our neighbors if it were not for the passion of those at the United Way to raise extra funding at a time when funding was scarce. Extra grants from the United Way allowed the Salvation Army to meet three times need of any previous year.

Today, there are still many people in our community that are in need, but you know what? Hope marches on through the work of the Salvation Army because of the passion and community building efforts of those at the United Way who remind us that we are “Better Together”.

If you haven’t yet contributed to the United Way’s campaign this year, I urge you to take up the call.

— Maj. Karl Dahlin