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A record-breaking success

January 24, 1997

Last week Washington County's United Way campaign wound up its 1996 campaign, raising a record-breaking $1.6 million for its 24 member agencies. Today we'd like to thank the people who made it possible, starting with campaign co-chairs Al Martin and Doug Wright.

Heading up a fund-raising effort like this one involves a lot more than putting your name on a letterhead and attending progress report luncheons. It means organizing an army of volunteers and convincing them to do this important job well, for no pay at all.

We also salute the volunteers on the front lines, the people who knock on doors, who make phone calls and pass out pledge cards. Raising money is tough, and just asking sometimes brings the volunteer a tirade from someone who's heard and accepted some of the outright lies that persist in this area's folklore.

Like what? Like the lie that Washington County United Way funds groups that help inmates file lawsuits against correctional officers. It's never happened, never even been considered, but like a vampire in an old movie, the lie never seems to die.

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We believe United Way is important because it allows agencies that help a wide range of citizens - from battered women in need of shelter to senior citizens in need of a hot meal - to budget for the whole year at once.

Suppose your employer didn't know from month to month whether there was enough money to keep the company going. And suppose that your co-workers were pulled off their jobs frequently to raise money to meet next month's payroll. It wouldn't be very efficient, and the workers wouldn't get much done.

That's what United Way spares its agency volunteers - the drudgery of constant fund-raising. Volunteers who work with the Boys and Girls Club, for example, can concentrate on the kids, instead of beating the bushes for funds.

To those of you who contributed, who donated $300,000 in the campaign's last two weeks, we thank you for making sure this community continues to care for those who need a little help in caring for themselves.

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