Campaign Chairman Gary McAllister announced the total at Tuesday’s mid-campaign report meeting at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, but tempered the news with a cautious look to the work still ahead.
While the figure puts the campaign approximately 25 percent ahead of the total raised at this point in last year’s campaign, McAllister said, “That was the easy part. The hard part will be getting that last one over goal. So we’ve got to keep working.”
McAllister said the United Way has become a passion for him since he agreed to chair this year’s campaign, a passion that parallels his answer to the many people at the businesses and organizations he has visited who ask him, “What is your goal this year for the United Way?”
“I tell them all the same thing, our goal is to change lives and make a difference for the people of Washington County.”
United Way President and CEO Kristan Ginnings said the agency has stepped up its efforts to make a broader impact in the community this year, adding five new agency program partners, which extends its roster of annually funded agencies from to 21, along with approximately 40 service programs.
“So this year we need your help more than ever,” she said. “Changing lives and making a difference is what we do every day. It’s our mission But we need your help.”
Less than two weeks away from Veterans Day, the meeting took on a military theme with the team members donating comfort items for delivery to residents of the domicilary at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home and writing personal thank-you notes to the veterans who will receive them.
The guest speaker was J.W. Johnson of Erwin, father of Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnsonm who was killed last year in a terrorist ambush in West Africa.
Johnson spoke about how his son had died fighting for people who are oppressed and encouraged the United Way team in its fight for people in their community.
“When you talk about United Way, you talk about how we come together for other people and for a greater cause of care and compassion,” he said.
“We are all blessed to have good jobs and to have money because there are many people in Washington County who have none. I’m asking you to search your heart and see if you can make a difference.”
More information about the campaign and the local human service agencies and programs it supports may be obtained by calling the United Way of Washington County at 423-220-1229 or online at unitedwayofwashingtoncountytn.org.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.