United Way of Blount County reaches $1.96 million goal
From United Way of Blount County
More than 150 donors, volunteers and agency representatives gathered Friday at First United Methodist Church of Maryville to celebrate and give thanks to the community for meeting the $1.96 million United Way of Blount County goal set only 12 weeks earlier.
“Wow, I cannot believe we are finally here,” Campaign Chairman Dave Ogle said. “It doesn’t seem fair that I get to stand up here before you and announce final totals when so much of the work was done by so many people who gave their all. This campaign would not be successful without the tireless efforts of the staff and everyone else involved.”
John Hinkle, chairman of the United Way of Blount County Board of Directors, welcomed attendees and recognized board members for their 100 percent participation in giving toward the campaign.
Among the campaign cabinet reports:
• Fred and Jane Tolhurst, chairs of the Major Firms division, reported raising $845,060. This division included six of the largest local employers.
• Commerce, chaired by Jonathan Barker, reported raising $247,068. This division included banking, real estate, media, transportation and insurance.
Homeless to serving
A previous client from Family Promise then stood up and talked of how she went from being homeless to now being able to serve on the board of Family Promise, emphasizing how grateful she was for the United Way of Blount County for making that possible.
• The Industry division, chaired by Kathy Johnson, reported raising $184,298. This division included building trades and manufacturing companies.
A staff member from Blount Dialysis Center then stood up and thanked the crowd for the support that enable her patients to receive the medical care they need.
• The General Business division, chaired by Judith Craw, reported raising $129,739. This division included retail, services, restaurants and tourism.
Kathy Pagles, chair of the Public Service division, reported raising $182,096. This division included colleges, schools, cities, the county, nonprofits, churches, fire and police.
A Trinity Dental Clinic patient then stood up and said, “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be standing up here with this beautiful smile.”
• Ron German, who chaired the Professionals division, reported raising $122,827. This division includes doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants. German, after crumpling up his script and throwing it behind him, claimed he had a “new plan” for next year.
“How many of you plan to see a doctor in the next year?” he asked the attendees. After hands started raising, he said, “Thank you all for volunteering to be on the committee next year. When you go see these doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants, make sure you tell them all the great things United Way does.”
Feeding the hungry
A staff member from Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee stood up to tell the crowd how thankful she is for United Way. “There are thousands of people in Blount County who do not know where their meals are going to come from tomorrow,” she said. “With United Way, we are able to feed those people.”
• Debra Whaley, chair of the Residential division, reported raising $181,557. This division includes those who don’t fall into a regular business category SEmD retirees, service clubs and many others.
• Wilson and Sue Borden, chairs of the Pillars Society, announced that total leadership giving was $677,132, which includes 337 Pillars giving $1,000 or more, 45 of which belong to the Young Leaders Society, and 13 Tocqueville Society members giving at $10,000 or more. Leadership giving filters through all divisions of the campaign.
Event chairs and co-chairs reported totals at the event, too. David Connor, co-chair of the golf tournament, reported raising $34,594; Bill Kilgore, co-chair of Gas Day, reported raising $14,656; Bill McLain, co-chair of the motorcycle ride, reported raising $12,158; and Tom Hatcher, chair of the Public Service Luncheon, reported raising $15,123.
Carl Esposito, chair of the Year of Caring Committee, announced the search for the Volunteer of the Year, an annual award celebrating volunteerism in Blount County. More information, as well as an application form, can be found at http://www.liveunitedblount.org .
Torch is passed
Ogle then had the pleasure of “passing the torch” on to next year’s campaign chair, Sherri Gardner Howell.
“Sherri, you may have gotten to relax a little the last few weeks as Pacesetter Chair, but it is my honor and privilege to pass the torch on to you, the Campaign Chair for 2013,” said Ogle. “I’m sure you’ll be as grateful as I am for the generosity and spirit that is Blount County, and in that vein, here is a tribute to that volunteer spirit.”
It was at that moment, and after a drumroll from the crowd, that the final campaign numbers were revealed. The United Way of Blount County, along with the generosity of Blount Countians, raised $1,960,338, just over their goal of $1.96 million set in August. Cheers from the crowd filled the gymnasium, and only one word could be used to describe that moment SEmD grateful.
Lunch was provided by United Way of Blount County meeting sponsors and the Public Service Luncheon committee.