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Day of Caring opens United Way campaign

August 29, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Sixteen area businesses encouraged more than 200 employees to spend their Wednesday work day tackling service projects at United Way member agencies from Hancock to Hagerstown during the 11th annual Day of Caring.

First Data Merchant Services employees Stacy Fockler, Terry Hopkinson and others volunteered to scrub, paint, mulch and trim bushes at Girls Inc.

"It's difficult when you work full time to find time to give back to the community," Fockler said. "First Data makes it easy."

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The business sponsored Day of Caring, which kicks-off United Way of Washington County's 2002 fall giving campaign. The goal of this year's campaign is $1.7 million, which will be used to help fund numerous health and human service programs, Campaign Chairman Robert Ernst II said.

Day of Caring efforts saved United Way agencies about $50,000, United Way Board President Robert Barnhart said.

Allfirst employees sorted and packed food for the Self Help in Partnership program at the Interfaith Service Coalition in Hancock, and painted and cleaned at Hagerstown Day Nursery.

"The A-Team," as Columbia Gas worker Luis Stephenson described his group of volunteers, filled a company dump truck with broken pianos and furniture from the gym at Girls Inc. Other Columbia Gas employees did manual labor at the Community Free Clinic.

Mack Trucks employee Annette Rowland shined the chandelier at Catholic Charities while 15 of her co-workers painted, power-washed, cleaned windows and landscaped at the agency on North Potomac Street.

"It's a tremendous help to us," said Peggy Whyte, who provides clinical oversight for Catholic Charities branches in Western Maryland.

Sunrise Rotary Club members prepared information packets at the Alzheimer's Association office in downtown Hagerstown. F&M Bank employees prepared and served meals to senior citizens at Commission on Aging sites throughout the county and General Electric workers delivered Meals on Wheels for the Community Action Council.

Review & Herald Publishing Association employee Bonnie Laing and about six co-workers sorted more than 400 boxes of donated food at Food Resources Inc. Other Review & Herald workers created a United Way window display on Public Square, planted shrubs at W House and archived records at the American Red Cross.

"This is a lot of fun for us," Laing said. "We're into volunteerism."

In addition to building shelves for W House and the United Way offices, Callas Contractors workers constructed rest room partitions, installed wood siding, painted and landscaped at the Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Hagerstown.

Fujicolor Processing and state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation employees painted the multi-purpose room at the Memorial Recreation Center. UPS workers made an outdoor sign for the Girl Scouts.

Allegheny Energy employees Jim Nipps and Mike Wescott used a bit of ingenuity to reach the high spots in need of new paint at the Boys & Girls Club on Pennsylvania Avenue. The men taped a paint brush to the end of their paint roller stick, stretching the distance they could cover from atop scaffolding in front of the building.

First Data employees painted locker rooms and other areas of the club, and several more Allegheny workers - including 34-year company veteran Dane Robinson - replaced the light fixtures hanging from the 30-foot ceiling in the club's gym.

Robinson said he volunteered for the Day of Caring to give back to the Boys & Girls Club for the support the agency lent him as a youngster.

"It made a big difference in my life," he said.

And the volunteers' efforts were a "huge" help to the Boys & Girls Club, Operations Director Buck Browning said.

"We wouldn't be able to do this without the Day of Caring," Browning said. "These are big jobs, and we could never afford all the materials."

The Hagerstown Rotary Club paid for the gym's new energy-efficient lights. Antietam Construction and Crown Inc., donated scaffolding. Coca-Cola provided drinks for volunteers and AC&T provided lunches, Browning said.

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