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Givers unite in celebration

December 12, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Awards were given out Thursday at the United Way of Washington County's campaign finale, but the total money raised during the 2003 campaign still isn't known.

The money raised won't be known until several company fund-raising efforts that still are in progress are completed.

"This has been a tough year and we hope that by extending the campaign, we can boost our totals to help provide the services that our community relies on every day," United Way Executive Director James Taylor said.

He assured more than 100 volunteers who gathered at First Christian Church for the luncheon that the final figures would be available sometime in January.

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The goal of this year's campaign is $1,846,994 for the United Way's 22 agencies. Last year, with a goal of $1.7 million, the campaign raised just over $1.6 million.

Following a slide presentation showcasing several company campaigns, volunteers working for United Way agencies and people being helped, two individuals spoke of their own experiences with the United Way of Washington County.

Carolyn Dawson said her late mother and father thought of Meals on Wheels volunteers as "angels" when they arrived day in and day out with nutritious dinners when they were unable to provide for themselves.

"And my daughter, who died from cancer in 2000, had Meals on Wheels every day for three years," Dawson said. Meals on Wheels is a Community Action Council program.

Arthur Claybon, Maryland's Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year, said he grew up in a neighborhood where there were few good role models. He joined the Hagerstown club on Pennsylvania Avenue as a youth and now is a tutor for other youngsters there.

"I am a living example of what your money does," Claybon told the volunteers.

The top award - the 2003 Chairman's Award - went to The Herald-Mail Co., which was lauded not only for its increased achievement and participation, but also for educating its employees about the United Way in unique ways.

Displays and posters were located throughout the Summit Avenue building so employees could see what their United Way contributions do in the community. There also were incentive awards and a Nerf darts competition to raise awareness.

The Herald-Mail's campaign coordinator, Arnold Platou, was singled out as the inspiration for the team.

"The employees surely caught his contagious giving spirit and made this their best campaign ever," said Jennifer Fleming, United Way marketing and campaign coordinator.

First Data won the Spirit Award for more that doubling its corporate giving and its employees' many fund-raising events, including a golf tournament and a 5K run.

Outstanding achievement awards for increasing contributions by 20 percent or more went to Apparatus Repair & Engineering, Associated Engineering Sciences, Caldwell Manufacturing and Sam's Club.

Taylor also thanked James E. Miller for his efforts during a recent computer conversion at the United Way.

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