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United Way campaign tops goal of $400,000

United Way campaign tops goal of $400,000
United Way campaign tops goal of $400,000
Don Gossman presents a gift to Barbara Bridgwater, who retired last month as Metro United Way's community director for Harrison and Floyd counties, at last week's Victory Celebration. Seated behind them is Michael Wiseman, this year's campaign chair. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

Michael Wiseman said running the United Way campaign for Harrison County was ‘more fun’ than keeping to a budget, as he does as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Community First Bank in Corydon.
And he was thrilled to announce that the total raised in this year’s campaign was $404,000. Not as high as the record set in 2000, when pledges totaled $528,000, but the best since 9/11.
‘I can’t thank everyone enough,’ Wiseman said. ‘We had a lot more givers in a lot more places.’
The announcement was made last Wednesday afternoon at the Old Capital Golf Club.
Caesars Indiana topped the giving again this year with $108,900, a 14-percent increase over last year.
Wiseman said he was worried for awhile that Caesars wouldn’t participate this year, as employees were helping their peers in Mississippi and Louisiana. Four of the company’s other riverboat casinos were hit by hurricanes there.
But Ed Garruto, Caesars’ top man in Harrison County, committed to having a pledge drive for United Way.
‘I think sometimes Caesars is taken for granted,’ Wiseman said. ‘They do a lot for the county, besides paying a lot of taxes.’
Rounding out the ‘terrific five companies’ were:
* Tyson Foods, at $40,468, 61 percent more than last year, thanks to the give-away of an F150 pickup truck to one lucky employee.
* First Harrison Bank, $22,768. That’s a four-percent increase from 2004. The bank actually raised more than that, but that’s the Harrison County share; the rest went to the Floyd County campaign.
* Blue River Services, $19,867. ‘That’s typical of a lot of United Way agencies,’ Wiseman said. ‘If all the businesses gave … at the level they did, we’d have a $1 million campaign.’
*Community First Bank, $19,668, 17 percent over last year.
The largest increase ‘ 703 percent ‘ was handed in by Eckart LLC in Corydon.
A new twist to this year’s campaign was the Holiday Tours of Cedar Glade, the home of Bud and Betty Bennett of Corydon.
‘They just did an amazing event,’ Wiseman said. That netted about $9,000 for Harrison County United Way agencies.
‘We want to thank everyone who helped in the process,’ said the Bennett’s daughter, Pam Martin.
Michelle Dayvault, United Way’s resource development specialist for Southern Indiana, was recognized for her work with the agency.
Members of the Campaign Cabinet were introduced. They are: Katie Beckort, who also served as Wiseman’s co-chair, Larry Bennett, Kevin Burch, Lori Dunaway, Don Gossman, Bill Taylor, Sarah Turpin and David Whittington.
Wiseman expressed his appreciation to his co-chair for her work.
‘I knew that once Katie takes over, I don’t have to worry about it,’ he said.
To Whittington, last year’s lead campaign chair, Wiseman said, ‘I know what I did last year, and, Dave, you got hosed.’
Gossman presented a gift of appreciation for 19 years of service to Barbara Bridgwater, who retired last month as Metro United Way’s community director for Harrison and Floyd counties.
‘Go get ’em,’ Bridgwater said to the many volunteers for United Way who were at the celebration. ‘You know what the communities are all about.’
‘Barb did an unbelievable job,’ Wiseman said. ‘I appreciate your help,’ he told her.