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United Way wins big for the ‘home team’

Thanks to ‘a lot of hometown effort,’ this year’s Harrison County United Way campaign raised $362,000 ‘to make a winning day,’ campaign co-chair David Whittington announced Friday afternoon at a victory celebration at the Old Capital Golf Club in Corydon.
The campaign didn’t officially raise as much as last year’s total, $367,676, but Whittington and co-chair Michael Wiseman believe they were building on a 2003 base of $330,405. Whittington said the base amount was determined after deducting $8,013 and $19,863 received last year as a Brown Challenge Match and Jump ’02 Challenge Match, respectively, funds not available this year. And, the chairs subtracted $3,773 collected by Keller Manufacturing Co., which did not have a campaign this year, and $5,622 raised by the Corydon Moose Lodge during a one-time special event.
‘We raised a lot of money to help a lot of people … to get through things in their life,’ said Whittington.
Metro United Way announced its total raised ‘ $27.9 million ‘ earlier this month.
The theme for this year’s campaign became apparent as the campaign progressed from its golf scramble kick-off in August to its victory celebration Friday afternoon. That theme was to ‘win for the home team,’ with the home team being Harrison County, Whittington said.
‘To be a winner, you’ve got to have a great team,’ Whittington said before he recognized this year’s campaign cabinet members. They were Katie Beckort, Bruce Fry, Don Gossman, Dr. John Gonzaba, David Lett, Barbara Middleton, Carole Shields, Bill Taylor, Tom Tucker and Sam Uhl.
‘Someone else who was a big part of our team was Danny Utz,’ a United Way loaned executive, and United Way employees Melissa Cummings and Brian Evans, Whittington said.
The Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, Cinergy/PSI, Harrison REMC and the accounting firm of Melhiser Endres Tucker were recognized for their campaigns this year that had increased giving over last year.
Whittington said students at St. Joseph School in Corydon collected $982.51 in its annual penny challenge. The sixth graders won this year’s contest, collecting $242.76 in pennies and $76.95 in ‘sabotage’ money, the school said.
‘There are some campaigns we’d like to brag about,’ Whittington said, calling them ‘Top Woohoos!’ They included Eckart Supply Co., Ramsey Popcorn, and the YMCA of Harrison County for either new campaigns or renewed efforts; and Bennett and Bennett Insurance, which posted a 55.2-percent increase over last year’s campaign.
Two Harrison County businesses were recognized in the Metro United Way’s ‘Terrific 25’ for per capita contributions. Heritage Ford-Mercury Inc. had $377 per capita, and Union Planters Bank had $435.
Whittington recognized these top five Harrison County campaigns:
5 ‘ Community First Bank, $16,772;
4 ‘ Blue River Services Inc., $21,717;
3 ‘ First Harrison Bank, $24,466;
2 ‘ Tyson Foods, $25,000, and
1 ‘ Caesars Indiana, $135,113, which Whittington called the ‘home-run hitter.’
‘Through the home-team effort, we were able to make up quite a bit of ground,’ Whittington said. ‘There are still a few loose ends to tie up. We’re going to see if we can get the total up a little bit more.’
Wiseman will co-chair next year’s campaign. (His co-chair will be announced some time next year.)
‘I look forward to another big year next year,’ Wiseman said, adding that he is thinking about a goal of $400,000.
(The 2000 campaign collected $528,000, the record.)
Gossman, the Harrison County United Way Advisory Board chair, said, ‘The idea to have co-chairs was to give some continuity from one year to the next.’
Gossman welcomed everyone to the celebration Friday.
‘This is always an exciting time of year for us. Not only do we get to announce the generosity of the community, but we can tie up loose ends,’ he said.
Now that the campaign is officially over (donations will still be accepted), the Community Solutions Committee can begin deciding how much money the different United Way agencies will receive.
Near the close of Friday’s celebration, Lori Deatrick’s name was drawn in the raffle for the Keller rocking chair.