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United Way ‘happy’ with $392,403

In a year in which “just about anything that could go wrong” did, Sam Uhl said contributors to the Harrison County United Way Campaign did a “marvelous job.
“Even though we didn’t achieve our goal this year, we should be happy with what we’ve done,” he said.
At Thursday morning’s “Community Celebration” held at Old Capitol United Methodist Church in Corydon, Uhl, this year’s campaign chair, announced that the 2001 total was at $392,403, with some additional contributions expected. The county’s goal was $487,000.
The Metro United Way fell short of its $32.5 million goal. As of last week, a $400,000 deficit was expected.
While the Harrison County total was less than last year — a record-breaking $528,000 — it was still more than the $387,000 collected in 1999.
“We have to keep in mind that there’s only so much money to go around,” said Uhl, who also chaired last year’s campaign.
At last year’s “Victory Breakfast,” before he agreed to chair the 2001 campaign, Uhl challenged the next county coordinator to raise at least $550,000, saying he was making it “easy” on the yet-to-be named chair by upping the 2000 drive by $22,000.
“Who could have imagined back in January how this year would have turned out?” Uhl asked last week. “This has been a trying year.”
There were other factors, too, such as the YMCA of Harrison County’s Founders Campaign, the Relay for Life and the Heart Walk, all worthy causes, Uhl said, plus the slowing economy and the Sept. 11 disaster took their toll on the campaign.
Chad Stengel, who succeeded Laura Chesnut this summer as United Way associate director of Harrison and Floyd counties, said that he found people in Harrison County giving donations “from their heart. That’s what United Way is to me.”
Stengel assisted Barbara Bridgwater, U.W. director of Harrison and Floyd counties, with last week’s program. Other staff who helped were Michelle Dayvault and Jan Sherrell.
The breakfast was prepared by Bridgwater, Sherrell, John Daily, Trent Gulley and Becky Markiewicz. Preston Farm, a Harrison County popcorn company, provided table favors of individually wrapped microwave popcorn that had the American Flag on the bags.
As part of the program, Uhl announced organizations’ campaign results.
Through their “Penny Challenge,” Sister Rose Riley, principal at St. Joseph School in Corydon, and the students raised $1,458.
“Students from this school have been stepping forward and demonstrating generosity for several years,” Uhl said. “It’s so unbelievable.”
Sixty to 70 percent of the total raised for the Metro United Way campaign comes from employee campaigns.
“They (employee campaign coordinators) are the prime reasons for these contributions,” Uhl said. “Each campaign is special. Each campaign has its own unique characteristics.
“All results, whether double digit or five-figure, result in helping people in need,” he said.
Campaigns recognized and their totals were:
Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, $1,609; Hoosier Hills PACT, $1,659; Bank One, about $2,000; Corydon Stone & Asphalt and Wyandotte Trucking, $3,488; O’Bannon Publishing Co., almost $4,000; Bennett & Bennett Insurance, $4,309; LifeSpan Resources, $4,884 (an 18 percent increase); Cinergy/PSI Energy, $5,485; Heritage Ford-Mercury, $10,850; Blue River Services, $12,053; Community First Bank, $12,914; Wal-Mart Supercenter, $15,372; Keller Manufacturing Co., $17,000; First Harrison Bank, $25,380, and Caesars Indiana, $167,000, with additional contributions expected between now and the end of the year.
“Caesars’ commitment is pretty incredible,” Bridgwater said.
More than 120 meetings were held at the gaming resort to try and reach each employee, and the importance of United Way is mentioned each Monday at Caesars’ orientation meeting for new employees. “It’s part of Caesars’ commitment to the community,” Bridgwater said.
While the 2001 Metro United Way campaign is officially done, additional money is expected.
“There are a few campaigns not completed,” Uhl said.
Those include Harrison County Community Services, Furthering Youth Inc. (Gerdon Youth Center), Tower Automotive and Oxford Automotive.
Uhl also recognized members of his campaign cabinet: Kevin Burch, John Evans, Brian Fogle, Rita Gettelfinger, Carlton Sanders, Aaron Smith, Jessica Walker and Doug York.
Loaned executives assisting with this year’s campaign were Becky Markiewicz, Kara Sanders, Paige Vollmer and Mike Wade.
Members of the Community Investment Team and the Advisory Board were asked to stand and be recognized.
Tom Tucker, chair of the Harrison County United Way advisory board, will head next year’s campaign.
“It’s the first time we ever had a campaign chair succeed himself,” he said, referring to Uhl. “He (Uhl) thought it would be a cakewalk. Then things happened.”
Tucker questioned how well United Way is communicating its role to the community.
“Everybody dug deep in their pockets for every charity, and all of these things are very visible,” he said. “The thing about the United Way campaign is it’s not that visible. We need to get the word out how United Way helps.”
Major Pam Kiger of The Salvation Army began the 2001 Community Celebration by singing “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Uhl expressed his “heartful thanks for everything everyone has done” for this year’s campaign. “It has been an honor to chair the campaign again,” he said.