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WOW!

A ticket to the Corydon Cinemas Thursday morning didn’t get anyone a special viewing of ‘Elf.’ Instead, everyone gathered in front of a big silver screen to hear how this year’s United Way campaign fared in Harrison County.
‘In the past we’ve always announced the total,’ said Bill Taylor, who co-chaired the fund-raising efforts with Barbara Middleton and Sam Uhl.
This year, Taylor stressed ‘where we are today, with the campaign still going on.’
The amount ‘ $348,303 ‘ is 91 percent of the goal.
Contributions are still being accepted, and some could qualify as ‘new giving or new leadership’ gifts that would lead to matching funds.
One continuing effort is an event planned by Corydon Moose Lodge member Jayme Peters, who has volunteered himself for a ‘complete body shave’ Friday at 9:30 p.m. at the lodge.
Peters hopes to raise a total of $15,000 ($5,000 in donations which will be matched two-for-one) to be split between Hospice and United Way.
Larry Bennett, a former United Way chair, worked with Peters on the idea and helped get it qualified for matching funds.
Following a continental breakfast in the cinema lobby, Don Gossman, who serves on the United Way Advisory Board and Community Investment Team, welcomed everyone as they took a seat in one of the four theaters.
Having a little bit of trouble seeing his notes in the dimly-lit room, Gossman quipped that he’s ‘been living in the dark about 57 years.’
‘We’re here to celebrate our community of stars,’ he said. ‘There are a lot of people not here today who are really stars,’ those who donate to United Way either through a one-time donation or payroll deduction.
Uhl recognized four people on the co-chairs’ campaign staff: Sean Hawkins, Angela Kitchel, David Lett and David Whittington.
‘They are the real people who got the campaign going,’ Uhl said. ‘Without their help, we couldn’t have accomplished what we were able to do this year.’
Company campaign totals were announced.
Caesars Indiana had the Number One campaign again this year, with pledges totaling a whopping $128,990.
Tyson Foods Inc. had the largest increase, up 239 percent, from about $6,300 last year to $21,357 this year.
When the dollar amount flashed on the screen, several people in the audience said, ‘Wow!’
‘Yes, that’s a ‘Wow,’ ‘ said Barb Bridgwater, director of Metro United Way of Harrison County.
Also recognized by Metro United Way for a ‘Wow’ campaign was Blue River Services. BRS had pledges of $20,152, a 40-percent increase.
The second largest campaign was run by First Harrison Bank. Employees collected $25,150 at branches in Harrison and Floyd counties. (The Harrison County portion was $22,374.)
Other businesses recognized and their totals are:
Heritage Food, $11,860 (53-percent increase);
Union Planters Bank, $9,488 (up 11 percent);
Cinergy/PSI, $8,322 (13.2-percent increase);
Harrison REMC, $5,688;
Bennett & Bennett Insurance, $4,455;
O’Bannon Publishing Co. Inc., $2,650;
Hoosier Hills PACT, $1,866;
Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, $1,428;
Harrison County Community Services, $1,051;
Harrison County government, $924, and
Furthering Youth Inc., $760.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrison County was recognized, although no total was available for the agency.
Students at St. Joseph School in Corydon collected $678 for United Way during its annual Penny Challenge. The sixth grade class won the challenge.
‘We appreciate their enthusiasm,’ Middleton said.
‘Every dollar collected is important to Harrison County,’ Middleton said.
Also during the program last week, Middleton recognized the ‘excellent’ United Way staff ‘ Bridgwater, Chad Stengel and Jan Sherrell ‘ who work with the Harrison County campaign, as well as this year’s loaned executives Becky Markiewicz and Paige Vollmer.
Brenda Masden gave a brief testimonial about how Big Brothers Big Sisters is assisted through United Way funding.
‘My life has been enriched this year to have a Little Sister,’ she said.

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